Due to popular demand, I’m sharing the recipe I used to make the turtle thumbprint cookies because they involve chocolate, caramel, and pecans and therefore must be shared with the world to spread joy and peace on earth, and because some days you’re willing to go the extra mile as plain old chocolate chip just won’t do.
This recipe was passed on to me by my mother in law, in a book full of handwritten recipes that I treasure and call upon every Christmas.
However, it must be said that the recipe is not hers originally, and she does not quite remember the source, though she suspects Better Homes & Gardens might have been involved. So whoever the original source is, we send our gratitude.
On to the cookies!
Here’s what you need:
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 T milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
16 Werther’s chewy caramels (Be sure you get the chewy ones! I learned from personal experience the hard ones will attempt to knock out your teeth if you put them in these cookies.)
3 T whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (although I used dark chocolate because I love dark chocolate)
1 tsp shortening
Here’s what you do:
Separate the egg; place yolk and white in separate bowls. Cover and chill egg white until needed. In a large mixing bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat well. Beat in egg yolk, milk, and vanilla.
In another bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat well. Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or until easy to handle.
Preheat oven to 350*F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a small saucepan, heat and stir the caramels, vanilla, and whipping cream over low heat until the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
Slightly beat the reserved egg white (I just whipped mine with a fork until it frothed a bit). Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in egg white, then in pecans to coat. Place the balls 1 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Using the back of a 1/2 tsp round measuring spoon, make an indentation in the center of each cookie.
Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are firm. If the cookie centers puff during baking (and they probably will) re-press with measuring spoon. Spoon the melted caramel mixture into the indentations of the cookies using a teaspoon. If necessary, reheat the caramel mixture to keep it spoonable. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool.
In another saucepan, heat and stir the chocolate pieces and shortening over low heat until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly. Drizzle chocolate mixture over tops of cookies using a fork and a quick back and forth motion as the chocolate drips. Let stand until set.
The recipe says it makes 36 cookies. I guess my 1-inch balls are larger than their 1-inch balls, as I came out with 26.