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Chocolate Thumbprint Turtle Cookies have a rich cocoa cookie base that is rolled in chopped pecans and filled with soft caramel. Drizzle with a little melted chocolate for a tasty, nutty treat that’s perfect for your next cookie exchange, holiday party or simply just because!

These decadent cookies never fail to impress and are the chocolate, caramel, pecan counterpart to the classic Jam Thumbprint Cookies. If you have also love desserts loaded with chocolate, caramel, and nuts, be sure to try my Easy Caramel Pecan Brownies, Carmelitas, or Chocolate Salted Caramel Whoopie Pies!

An image of chocolate thumbprint turtle cookies with caramel and pecans.

I’m obsessed with turtle desserts. It’s that combination of caramel, chocolate, and nutty sweet pecan crunch that gets me every time.

My mom used to make the easiest ever ice cream pie with a graham cracker crust, vanilla ice cream, then drizzles of chocolate magic shell, caramel, and chopped pecans. It’s so easy that it feels like cheating but I keep meaning to post it on here because it’s perfect for dinner parties since you make it in advance and it looks so impressive.

An image of turtle thumbprint cookies with chocolate drizzled over the top.

These chocolate thumbprint turtle cookies have the same classic turtle flavor combination of deep, chocolatey chocolate with rich, gooey caramel, and crunchy pecans in a cookie form that is always the store of a cookie plate or cookie exchange.

And they are really fun and easy to make!

An image of chocolate thumbprint cookies with caramel and pecans.  

What are Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies?

These chewy turtle cookies are a delicious take on a fun and traditional turtle candy. While you don’t have to shape the cookies into tiny turtles, the flavor components are all there. The caramel, nutty crunch and chocolate all help this turtle cookie recipe to shine. 

How to make Chocolate Thumbprint Turtle Cookies

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add in the egg yolk, milk, and vanilla.
  4. Stir in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt until combined. Chill the dough for 1 hour in the fridge.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg white until it’s frothy. Prepare another shallow bowl with chopped pecans.
  6. Divide your dough into 20 evenly-sized pieces and roll into balls. Roll each ball in the frothy egg whites, then into the chopped pecans, pressing the nuts to cover the cookie dough really well. Place on the prepared baking sheet and press a finger or the back of a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon into the center of each ball to form an indentation.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, just until set. Be careful not to overbake.
  8. While cookies are still hot, using the measuring spoon to press the indentation again so there is a good space for the caramel to go.
  9. Combine the caramel and water in a microwave-safe bowl and melt them by heating in 20-30 second intervals and stirring in between about 1-2 minutes total. Pour melted caramel into the depression in each cookie.
  10. Melt the semisweet chocolate with shortening in another microwave-safe bowl in 20-second intervals, stirring between each burst of heat, just until melted, about 1-2 minutes.
  11. Transfer the melted chocolate to a ziploc bag and make a small snip off one corner. Drizzle the chocolate over the cookies, then let set before serving.

A collage of images showing how to make chocolate thumbprint cookie dough. A collage of images showing the steps for how to make chocolate thumbprint turtle cookies. An image showing chocolate caramel thumbprint turtle cookies with melted chocolate drizzled over the top on a baking sheet.

How Do You Store Chocolate Thumbprint Turtle Cookies?

After the cookies have completely set, you can place them inside an airtight container at room temperature for storage. You can also place them in the fridge if you’d like to enjoy them chilled as well, but be warned that the caramel will firm up significantly. 

It’s pretty soft caramel, so I don’t think anyone would break a tooth on it, but it would all come off the cookie with your first bite, giving you a chewy mouthful of caramel and cookie. 

If you plan on stacking them to get them to fit inside a container, you may want to use a small sheet of wax paper between the layers to prevent the cookies from sticking to each other.

Can You Freeze Chocolate Thumbprint Turtle Cookies?

Yes, you can these turtle cookies! Freezing them not only helps to keep you from eating an entire batch in one sitting but it can also prolong the shelf-life as keeping them in the freezer will keep them fresh for up to 2 months.

This is also a great tip for when you plan on making these impressive holiday cookies and want to get the cookies done in advance.

An image of chocolate thumbprint turtle cookies on a white plate.  

More Cookie Recipes You’ll Love

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An image of chocolate thumbprint turtle cookies with caramel and pecans.
Yield: 20 cookies

Chocolate Thumbprint Turtle Cookies

Chocolate Thumbprint Turtle Cookies have a rich cocoa cookie base that is rolled in chopped pecans and filled with soft caramel. Drizzle with a little melted chocolate for a tasty, nutty treat that’s perfect for your next cookie exchange, holiday party or simply just because!

Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pecans, finely chopped

Caramel

  • 3/4 cup Kraft Caramel Bites or 16 unwrapped caramel squares
  • 1/2 teaspoon water

Chocolate Drizzle

  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon shortening

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until light, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla.
  4. Stir in flour, cocoa powder, and salt until combined. Chill dough for 1 hour in the fridge.
  5. Whisk egg white in a bowl until frothy. Prepare another shallow bowl with chopped pecans.
  6. Divide dough into 20 evenly-sized pieces and roll into balls. Roll each ball in the frothy egg whites, then in the chopped pecans, pressing the nuts in to cover the cookie dough really well. Place on prepared baking sheet and press a finger or the back of a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon into the center of each ball to form an indentation.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, just until set. Be careful not to overbake.
  8. While cookies are still hot, using the measuring spoon to press the indentation again so there is a good space for the caramel to go.
  9. Combine the caramel and water in microwave-safe bowl and melt by heating in 20-30 second intervals and stirring in between, about 1-2 minutes total. Pour melted caramel into the depression in each cookie.
  10. Melt semisweet chocolate with shortening in another microwave-safe bowl in 20 second intervals, stirring between each burst of heat, just until melted, about 1-2 minutes.
  11. Transfer the melted chocolate to a ziplock bag and make a small snip off one corner. Drizzle the chocolate over the cookies, then let set before serving.

Notes

  • Once the chocolate drizzle has set, you can freeze these cookies for up to 2 months in a freezer-safe ziploc bag. Just thaw completely on the counter before serving.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

20

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 239Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 133mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 1gSugar: 21gProtein: 3g

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