Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

Boy, do I love chocolate turtles!! Lately I have had a huge love for pecans and I will find any excuse to put them in anything. I wanted to make some sort of shortbread thumbprint cookie and thought why not use caramel in the little thumbprint! So I was able to change up a recipe to make it a chocolate shortbread cookie with a caramel filling and chocolate drizzle. I was hesitant to see how the shortbread would turnout especially with cocoa powder but these came out much better than I expected them to…especially with the pecans.

So here we go, I started with softened butter and cream cheese and creamed sugar into that.

I then beat in an egg yolk (good recipe if you have extra egg yolks!) and mixed in the dry ingredients. To make this a chocolate shortbread cookie, I substituted 1/4 cup of flour for cocoa powder which I found worked quite well.

After slowly adding in the dry ingredients and making sure it was all mixed together, I took a bag of pecans (maybe a cup or so) and crushed it up inside the bag. I then poured the chopped pecans into the batter and folded them in with a spatula.

Once the dough was finished, I refrigerated it for an hour or two so that it was easier to work with. Once chilled, I rolled the dough into balls, scooping a heaping tablespoon for each. I then put the balls onto a lined baking sheet and pressed my thumb into the top of them. Because of the pecans, these didn’t perfectly stay together in a circular manner but instead appeared to crack a little. After each cookie had a thumbprint, I fixed them up to have a better print and make sure then once they baked, they could hold the melted caramel.

The oven was finally preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, so I put the cookies in for about 11 minutes. I also let them cool for a couple minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack. They didn’t have as much of a thumbprint after they baked so right out of the oven, I used the bottom part of a teaspoon to make a deeper dip.

Because I didn’t have the caramels yet, I covered these overnight with plastic wrap so they didn’t dry. These cookies dry easily so make sure to keep them covered if you’re not going to eat them the day you bake them; I prefer it to be a softer shortbread cookie.

For the yummy, ooey-gooey caramel I put 1 1/2 tablespoons of heavy cream into a bowl with 15 Kraft soft caramels and microwaved them in 30 second intervals, stirring in between. I then scooped the caramel and poured it into each thumbprint.

I then used about 3 oz of semi-sweet chocolate and about a tablespoon of coconut oil and melted the chocolate in the microwave in 20 second intervals, again stirring in between.

I poured the chocolate into a plastic bag and cut off a tiny piece of a corner so I could squeeze it out to drizzle over each cookie (trying my best not to eat it all before it even touched the cookie).

Because it was very hot outside, and coconut oil has a lower melting point, this chocolate stayed softer, and so did the caramel. The combination of the chocolate shortbread with the crunchy pecans, gooey caramel, and smooth chocolate blended effortlessly. (Just be careful eating them! The caramel loves to drip right off.)

Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

Yield: 20-25

Turtle Thumbprint Cookies


  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 15 soft caramels
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • 3 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil


  1. Cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar in a large bowl with a stand or hand mixer. Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla extract.
  2. Add the baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder and mix until combined. Slowly add in the flour and mix until combined.
  3. Mix in the pecans. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat to oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Roll the dough into balls using about a heaping tablespoon each. Place on the baking sheet and press a thumbprint into each cookie. Reshape if needed and place about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for a couple minutes before moving to a wire cooling rack. While still on the pan, press the bottom of a measuring spoon into each cookie for extra imprint.
  7. For the caramel, place the caramels into a microwave safe bowl and add the heavy cream. Microwave until melted in 30 second intervals, mixing in between. Spoon and pour over each cookie into the thumbprint.
  8. For the chocolate drizzle, place chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and add the coconut oil. Microwave until melted in 15 second intervals, mixing in between. Pour the chocolate into a plastic bag and cut a tip off the corner to drizzle over each cookie.

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