This turtle cookie recipe is not only inspired by the flavors of turtles, with a combination of chocolate, caramel, and pecans but they are also shaped to look like turtles in cookie form. The soft chocolate cookie is slightly chewy and the burst of salty, caramel flavor in the middle of the cookie takes these turtle cookies over the top!
One of my favorite candies to eat growing up were turtles. I just adored the mix of chocolate, caramel, and pecans and would eat these more than anything else. I think they are just the perfect combination of all sweet and salty flavors in one treat. I can’t think of many things better.
I simply knew I had to make my favorite turtle candies and turn them into a cookie! The results are simply spectacular! Caution! You might find yourself eating a few too many of these turtle cookies if you stick around the pan while they are cooling.
Just a fair warning. Regardless of whether you overindulge or not, they are the perfect way to reminisce about beautiful memories from the past.
Why You’ll Love These Turtle Cookies
- A Great Chocolate Cookie. The chocolate cookie base is perfectly soft and flavorful.
- Kid-Friendly Baking. These cookies are so much fun to make with your kids. They can have some fun in the kitchen and create new memories with you.
- Perfect Combination! Chocolate, pecans, and caramel make an amazing flavor combination.
- A Unique Cookie! These animal-shaped cookies are perfect for kids’ birthday parties, bake sales, and themed events!
Ingredients to Make This Turtle Cookie Recipe
These cookies are made using simple, easy-to-find baking ingredients. Let’s look at the main ingredients you need:
- Butter: Use unsalted butter for the best results. Make sure you pull it out early so it can warm up to room temperature.
- Sugar: This recipe uses a combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar.
- Egg: Adds some moisture and binds the cookie dough together.
- Pure vanilla extract: Make sure you are not using imitation vanilla which unfortunately won’t result in an authentic vanilla flavor.
- All-purpose flour: Necessary to give your turtle cookies the right texture and structure.
- Leavening: Baking soda and baking powder
- Salt: Just a bit to enhance the chocolate flavor and balance the sweetness.
- Cocoa powder: Adds the perfect bitter, chocolate flavor to the cookies.
- Caramel candies: These are small candies that are individually wrapped and sold in a bag. We will be using them for the caramel centers.
- Pecans: Make sure to buy whole pecans for the most turtle-like look.
- Chocolate sauce: The finishing touch on these turtle cookies!
How to Make This Turtle Cookie Recipe
These cookies are pretty easy to make and any level baker will easily be able to prepare them! Here’s a look at the main steps but you can find all the details in the recipe card.
Making the Cookie Dough
- Combine the butter and both sugars in a bowl and beat until the mixture is nice and fluffy.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract, and mix again until they are well incorporated into the mixture.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder in a separate bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix until everything is mixed into the cookie dough. Refrigerate the dough for 30-45 minutes so it will be easier to work with when shaping the cookies.
Shaping the Turtle Cookies
- Shape the dough into medium-sized balls and place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
- Place one piece of unwrapped caramel candy in the center of each cookie ball and press down to flatten. Add 4-5 pecans on the bottoms of the cookie balls to give the cookies a turtle shape.
- Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until they are nice and browned and the caramel has melted through. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and serve!
Tips for Making the Best Chocolate Turtle Cookies
- Use a medium-sized cookie scoop to make even-sized turtle cookies.
- Make sure the ingredients are at room temperature for easier and more thorough mixing.
- Let the cookies cool slightly on the tray before moving them to a rack to cool. This allows them to set a bit so they don’t break or lose their feet.
Popular Substitutions & Additions
- Swap the Chocolate Sauce: Use can use peanut butter sauce or caramel sauce instead.
- Nut-Free: You can easily make this cookie recipe nut-free by simply ditching the pecans for a chocolate caramel cookie.
- No Caramel Candies? You can also use a Hershey’s Kiss or other meltable chocolate or caramel candy to add different flavors.
- Salted Caramel: Lightly sprinkle some coarse salt right after the cookies come out of the oven.
What to Serve with Chocolate Turtle Cookies
- Add these cookies to a cookie tray or platter for parties along with salted caramel chocolate chip cookies and Butterfinger brown butter cookies.
- Enjoy them with a cup of hot chocolate.
- Top off a bowl of ice cream with a turtle cookie! Try it with cookie butter ice cream or mocha fudge swirl ice cream.
- Use a handful of turtle cookies to decorate this animal cookie ice cream cake.
How to Store This Turtle Cookie Recipe
After they’re completely cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature. Place the container somewhere where it is cool and dry such as a cabinet or pantry. If you leave them out on the counter just make sure they aren’t near the sun.
How long will turtle cookies last?
When properly stored, these cookies will last up to five days.
Can I freeze chocolate turtle cookies?
Yes, you can! Wrap them up in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container and store them in the freezer for up to three months. Allow them to thaw out on the counter overnight before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s because when the ingredients are piled onto and added to the cookies they take on the shape of turtles.
They may include a variety of different baking ingredients but will almost always include chocolate, pecans, and caramels which are the flavors associated with turtle candies.
Since it can be visually a bit difficult to determine when your cookies are ready, you can go by texture instead. Look to see if the edges are dry and set. You can even lightly press on the edges to check them. It’s ok if the middles are slightly soft especially since the caramel is in the center.
These chocolate turtle cookies are so delicious and fun to make! I am so sure you and your family will absolutely love them! If you’ve got the time, don’t forget to ask the kids to help you mix up a batch!
More Cookies Recipes
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Key Lime Pie Cookies
- Shortbread Cookies
- Raspberry Gooey Butter Cookies
- Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Turtle Cookie Recipe
- ½ cup unsalted butter 1 stick at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 1 package wrapped caramel candies chewy is best
- 1 package pecans
- chocolate sauce warmed
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In the bowl of your mixer, add the butter and both sugars to the bowl and cream until nice and fluffy.
- Next add in the egg and vanilla extract and continue to mix until well incorporated.
- While mixture is creaming, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder in a separate bowl.
- Lastly, add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix until well incorporated. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes to cool. It will help it become easier to work with.
- Remove dough from refrigerator. Next roll a medium large scoop of dough into a ball and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
- Place 1 unwrapped caramel candy in the center of each cookie ball and press down to flatten. Press 3-4 pecans on the bottoms of the cookie balls to resemble a turtle shape.
- Bake the cookies for for 10-12 minutes until they are nice and browned and the caramel has melted through.
- Next drizzle chocolate sauce over cookies and serve.