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Turtle Thumbprint Cookies – deliciously nutty!
Who can resist a cookie with a smooth, creamy dollop of sweet caramel, and a drizzle of yummy chocolate?
Thumbprint cookies are always a favorite here at SRFD and we can’t get enough of these delicious little bites. For these Turtle Thumbprint Cookies I started with my mom’s old thumbprint cookie recipe that’s not very sweet and loaded with finely ground pecans mixed right in the dough.
To finish we added a hefty dollop of milky, silky caramel, a little sprinkle of sea salt (optional) and a fun drizzle of semi-sweet chocolate. These cookies are easy to make in just a few simple steps!
Ingredients to make Turtle Thumbprint Cookies:
For the cookie dough:
- unsalted butter, room temperature
- light brown sugar
- vanilla extract
- all-purpose flour
- finely grated pecans
- egg white
- finely chopped pecans
For the caramel filling:
- soft milk caramels
- milk or cream
For sprinkling and drizzling:
- sea salt (optional for sprinkling)
- semi-sweet chocolate chips
While there are a few steps to make these Turtle Thumbprint Cookies, each one is simple and easy and absolutely worth the effort!
Prepare the cookie dough:
- Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg and vanilla.
- Sift the flour and salt into the creamed butter. Stir in the grated nuts. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
- Prepare two bowls. One with the grated nuts and the other with a beaten egg white.
- Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Dip into the beaten egg white, then roll in the chopped pecans.
- Bake! The pecans get all toasty in the oven creating a wonderful layer of nutty flavor.
Prepare the filling and topping:
- Combine the caramels and milk and microwave at intervals until melted and smooth.
- Fill each cookie with caramel then immediately sprinkle with sea salt, if using. Allow the filling to set before drizzling with chocolate.
- Microwave chocolate chips with the shortening until melted and smooth. Drizzle or pipe the melted chocolate over the caramel.
- Allow the cookies to set completely before storing.
1. When measuring the grated pecans, gently tap the measuring cup on the counter top a few times to lightly pack the nuts. Keep filling and tapping until you have one heaping cup.
2. Roll all the cookie dough balls first. Then using one clean hand, dip the balls in the egg white one at a time, then move it to the chopped pecans. Use the other hand to roll it in the pecans and move it to the baking sheet.
3. Start by adding only about half of the chopped pecans to the bowl used for rolling. Add more if needed but this way you won’t ruin any leftover pecans if you don’t use them all. If you have any leftover chopped pecans refrigerate for another use.
After the caramel and chocolate is set you can store in an airtight container at room temperature or refrigerate for longer storage. My husband loves them refrigerated but I like them either way. The caramel doesn’t get too hard in the fridge, so it’s all good!
Our Turtle Thumbprint Cookies are ultra nutty and so delicious and I bet you can’t eat just one! Turtle power!
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Turtle Thumbprint Cookies
For the cookie dough:
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- ¼ cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup finely grated pecans (see note)
- 1 large egg white lightly beaten
- 1 ½ cups finely chopped pecans for rolling
For the filling:
- 20 soft milk caramels
- 2 tablespoons milk or cream
- pinch of sea salt (optional) for sprinkling
- 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ teaspoon solid shortening
To prepare the cookies:
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, blend the butter and brown sugar together until creamy. Add the vanilla and egg and beat on low until smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula and blend another 30 seconds. Sift the flour and salt into the cream mixture. Blend until all flour is incorporated. Stir in the grated nuts. Refrigerate the cookie dough for 30 minutes.
- Place the beaten egg white in a small bowl and about 1/2 of the chopped pecans in another and set the bowls side by side.
- Roll the cookie dough into 1-inch balls. Dip each cookie dough ball into the beaten egg white, then roll in the pecans to cover. Place cookies at least 1-inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheets.
- Press down the center of each cookie with a small finger or the back of a rounded 1/2 teaspoon to create a well. Bake at 375F for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before filling.
To prepare the filling:
- Combine the unwrapped caramels and the milk in a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave the candy on medium power for 30 seconds. Remove and stir then repeat for 15 second intervals until all caramels are melted and the mixture is smooth. Fill each thumbprint with caramel. Immediately sprinkle a pinch sea salt over the caramel, if using. Allow the filling to cool before topping with the chocolate.
- Combine the chocolate chips and shortening in a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave the chocolate on medium power for 30 seconds. Stir the mixture then repeat with 15 second intervals until the chocolate is smooth and melted. Scoop the chocolate into a small baggie, snip off a small piece of one corner of the bag. Drizzle the chocolate over each cookie as desired.
- Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. These cookies will keep for a few days at room temperature or a bit longer when refrigerated. The caramel doesn’t harden too much when refrigerated.
- When measuring the grated pecans, gently tap the measuring cup on the counter top a few times to lightly pack the nuts. Keep filling and tapping until you have one heaping cup.
- Roll all the cookie dough balls first. Then using one clean hand, dip the balls in the egg white one at a time, then move it to the chopped pecans. Use the other hand to roll it in the pecans and move it to the baking sheet.
- Start by adding only about half of the chopped pecans to the bowl used for rolling. Add more if needed but this way you won’t ruin any leftover pecans if you don’t use them all. If you have any leftover chopped pecans refrigerate for another use.
Here are a few more cookie recipes you might enjoy:
Ginger Molasses Thumbprint Cookies with Caramel ~ a terrific little molasses cookie with a crisp exterior, plenty of bite from the ginger, and a smooth, gooey milky caramel center. Click HERE to get the Ginger Molasses Thumbprint Cookie recipe.
Try our unique and delicious Oatmeal Jammys! These terrific little tart-like cookies are true gems. They’re crispy, tender, buttery shortbread oatmeal cookies filled with jam and a sprinkle of streusel around the edges and I can’t wait for you to try them! Click HERE to get the recipe.
Lemon-Lime Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies – a Lime infused Shortbread Cookie filled with homemade Lemon Curd and topped with a simple Lime Icing – a bright summer treat! Click HERE to get the Lemon-Lime Shortbread Thumbprint Cookie recipe.
Thanks so much for stopping by! Tricia