Chocolate Turtle Cookies

Fudgy chocolate cookies with pecans and caramel. Like your favorite turtle chocolate candies in cookie form!

Chocolate Turtle Cookies - like your favorite turtle chocolate candies in cookie form! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

Welcome to recipe #1 of my Sally’s Cookie Palooza!

For the next 10 days, I will be sharing a new cookie recipe with you. Just in time for Christmas! Make sure your cookie jar is currently empty, because you’ll be making quite a few dozen soon. From sprinkles, to mint chocolate, to caramel, to coconut, to red velvet, to shortbread – I think you’ll all find a cookie to love.

Are you ready for 10 new cookie recipes? 😉

Chocolate Turtle Cookies - like your favorite turtle chocolate candies in cookie form! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

We’re going to start with something sort of amazing, wonderful, crazy, fudgy, nutty, caramel-y, and hands down AWESOME. Chocolate turtle cookies!

I was never a fan of pecans when I was little. When we had homemade pecan rolls every Christmas morning (among other things), I’d pick off all the nuts and give them to my mom. These days I’m completely nuts about them.

Pecans, chocolate, and caramel make up one of my favorite candies: chocolate turtles. I took all of those flavors and turned them into one irresistible cookie. And you know what? These over-the-top cookies give chocolate turtle candies a run for their money.

You’ll start with my standard chocolate cookie recipe. This chocolate cookie dough is so versatile. You can make s’mores cookies, candy cane kiss cookies, inside out chocolate chip cookies, and salted caramel cookies.

The cookie dough requires chilling, so make sure you plan ahead. You must chill this cookie dough because it is much too sticky to form into balls. Plus, chilling the dough will reduce spread. You don’t want flat turtle cookies, trust me.

Chocolate Turtle Cookies - like your favorite turtle chocolate candies in cookie form! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

After the cookie dough has been chilled, roll into balls. Then, roll each into some crushed pecans before baking.

After the cookies cool down a little, drizzle salted caramel all over each. Hubba hubba!

Chocolate Turtle Cookies - like your favorite turtle chocolate candies in cookie form! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

Get to baking, I promise there won’t be a chocolate crumb left!

Chocolate Turtle Cookies

Fudgy chocolate cookies with pecans and caramel. Like your favorite turtle chocolate candies in cookie form!

This cookie dough requires at least 2 hours to chill.

Ingredients:

Cookies

  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (careful not to overmeasure)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons (52g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk
  • 3/4 cup (105g) chopped pecans
  • homemade salted caramel

Directions:

  1. Make the cookies: Toss the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl as needed. Switch the mixer to medium speed and beat in the granulated sugar and brown sugar until combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Turn the mixer off and pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Turn the mixer on low and slowly beat until a very soft dough is formed. Beat in the milk on medium speed. The dough will be very sticky. Cover the dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. Chilling is mandatory.
  3. Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes so it is not rock hard. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  4. Scoop 1 Tablespoon of dough, form into a ball, and roll in the pecans. Repeat for each cookie. Place 10 balls onto each baking sheet.
  5. Bake each batch for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Drizzle warm caramel over cookies and allow to set for at least 10 minutes.
  7. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Make-ahead tip: Cookies can be frozen for up to 2 months, with or without caramel. I find it's best to drizzle with caramel right before serving, though. Unbaked cookie dough balls (before rolling in pecans) will freeze well for up to 3 months. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, pre-heat the oven, then roll in chopped pecans. Bake as directed. Store any leftover caramel in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Use it on ice cream, these cookies, or use as a dipping sauce for fruit or graham crackers. Warm the caramel up for a few seconds before using in a recipe.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

★ Happy Birthday SBA! ★

Before I leave you, I think it’s only appropriate to mention something sort of huge. Today, December 11th 2013, is Sally’s Baking Addiction’s 2nd anniversary. My first post holds a recipe that I still love to this day. I will never update those photos. Just a reminder of how hard work and dedication can take you far.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for following me in the kitchen. From all my recipe disasters, successes, and cherished memories – thank you.

I wouldn’t be where I am today, lucky enough to call my passion my full time job, if it were not for you. 🙂

133 Comments

Comments

  1. cori on December 16, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Hi Sally!  I want to send these to my husbands family via airplane when he goes to visit them – would they ship well or are they sticky?

    • Sally on December 16, 2015 at 5:34 pm

      With the caramel drizzle– these really aren’t ideal for shipping. How about these cookies instead?

  2. cori on December 16, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Oh i searched “ship” “store and “sent” and didn’t find an answer but then looked up two comments and saw that you think they harden after a little while so hopefully ill be good!  Never mind!

  3. Cami on December 22, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Hi!
    I love this recipe and I think its genius but I’m in the process of making the cookies and I realized that I forgot to get cocoa powder is it possible I could make the recipe without it?

    Thanks!
    Cami

  4. kathy on December 22, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    can the dough chill over night??

  5. Lorrie on September 1, 2016 at 7:35 am

    How long can the dough chill? 

    • Sally on September 1, 2016 at 10:33 am

      Up to about 3 days.

  6. Sammi Harasymchuk on November 28, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Not to go too fan-girl crazy (my boyfriend makes fun of me because of how much I talk about your blog) but these cookies were SO good! Said boyfriend even messaged me while I was out shopping to tell me how good they were even though we ate one together before I left haha so they are THAT good! Thanks for all of the amazing recipes!!!

  7. Michelle on December 3, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Can I double this recipe? I’m making these for the office staff and engineers at work that are unappreciated, and need more than 20 🙂

  8. Amy on December 17, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    These cookies taste great but I cannot keep them from spreading into a flat cookie despite chilling dough before and after rolling into balls. Do you have any suggestions?  Thank you so much! I love your blog!

    • Sally on December 17, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      Hi Amy! If you decide to try these again, try leaving out the milk. You won’t have a lot of spreading issues that way.

  9. Sue on October 20, 2017 at 2:40 am

    Hi Sally. I just baked these yummy cookies. Thank you for your delicious recipes and tips. I’ve made a second batch, all rolled out with pecans n mini morsels, and stored individually wrapped in freezer. Wondering if I should thaw in refrigerator for few hours or bake straight from freezer???  We’re having a cookie baking contest next week for national respiratory therapy week and I’m working long stretch of nights. So had to partially prepare ahead.   I am pretty confident these turtle cookies will win at least one category!!!

    And congratulations on your beautiful baby!!!

    Thanks, Sue W

    • Sally on October 20, 2017 at 8:13 am

      Thank you for the congrats, Sue! I would bake straight from the freezer, maybe an extra minute or two.

  10. Katherine on November 17, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Hi Sally-I know this is a few years behind all the other comments, but I just stumbled upon these cookies when you posted your holiday cookie list. I was wondering if I could substitute crushed pretzels for the nuts? I have a nut allergy son who thought these looked amazing-minus the nuts . Thanks!

    • Sally on November 17, 2017 at 11:28 am

      You sure can! Same amount. Sounds so good– sweet and salty!

  11. MJ Kelly on December 1, 2017 at 9:02 am

    You talk about chocolate morsels but they are not listed in the ingredients or in the recipe . Are they supposed to be ?

    • Sally on December 1, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      Hi MJ! I reworked the recipe recently and leave the chocolate morsels out. You can roll the cookie dough balls in a mix of chopped pecans and mini chocolate chips if you’d like– that’s what I did before.

  12. Amber on December 4, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    This is going to sound like a really silly question…but I plan on making these tomorrow and just want to clarify – after rolling the dough into balls, do I flatten them? 

    • Sally on December 5, 2017 at 8:30 am

      No need to flatten before baking!

  13. Taylor on December 5, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    Hi Sally can the dough it’s self  be frozen ? Or just the cookies after being made ?

    • Sally on December 6, 2017 at 6:52 am

      It sure can! Unbaked cookie dough balls (before rolling in pecans) will freeze well for up to 3 months. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, pre-heat the oven, then roll in chopped pecans. Bake as directed.

  14. Kimberly on December 6, 2017 at 11:18 am

    How long can I keep these cookies for out on the counter?

    • Sally on December 6, 2017 at 12:36 pm

      Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

  15. Amber on December 6, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    I’m really happy that these cookies came out so good! Looked just like yours do in the pictures 🙂 and they don’t take up much time to make. The caramel sauce took me a couple tries to get it right, so in the future I will make the caramel sauce the night before because I’ll definitely make these again! 

  16. L on December 24, 2017 at 8:27 am

    Hi Sally! Merry Christmas! Quick question: I made these about 2 years ago and they were divine. I’m positive, though, that I didn’t make a caramel sauce from scratch. I seem to remember melting down caramel candies (like Werther’s). Am I crazy?? This Christmas will be one of the most special you’ll ever celebrate! Enjoy your new baby and spoiling her on her fist Christmas! 

    • Sally on December 27, 2017 at 7:12 am

      You aren’t crazy!! You can melt down store-bought caramels with heavy cream or half-and-half to make a quick caramel sauce instead. (Like this.) I had this recipe originally use that method.

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