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5 from 2 votes

Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

Deliciously nutty cookies with a smooth, creamy dollop of sweet caramel on top, and a drizzle of yummy chocolate
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Refrigerated30 mins
Total Time42 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: caramel, cookies
Servings: 32 Cookies
Calories: 141kcal
Author: Tricia


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 ½ 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 ½ 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.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. When multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.


Calories: 141kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 38mg | Potassium: 69mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 106IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg