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Decadent Turtle Cookies with Salted Caramel

These turtle cookies have the best chocolate flavor and chewy texture. They are topped with a salted caramel drizzle and bits of flaky sea salt.

Turtle cookies make the best dessert. These cookies have the chewiest chocolate flavor. They are rolled in chocolate chips, and pecan pieces. We top these cookies off with a thick drizzle of salted caramel sauce and flaky sea salt.

My kids are obsessed with these cookies. They are a favorite around our house. These are great cookies to make for a bake sale, or a gathering.

Turtle Cookies With A Salted Caramel Drizzle

What makes a cookie chewy?

Chewy cookies have a distinct texture that is soft and tender with a slight resistance when you bite into them. Several factors contribute to the chewiness of cookies:

  1. Moisture Content: Cookies with a higher moisture content tend to be chewier. Ingredients like brown sugar, honey, or molasses can contribute moisture and enhance chewiness.
  2. Fat Content: Including a higher proportion of fats, such as butter or oil, can make cookies more tender and chewy. Fat coats the proteins in flour, limiting gluten formation, and contributes to a softer texture.
  3. Type of Sugar: Brown sugar contains molasses, which attracts and holds moisture, making cookies chewier. Using a combination of brown and white sugars can create a good balance between moisture and sweetness.
  4. Egg Ratio: Eggs provide structure and moisture to cookies. Using more eggs or egg yolks, as opposed to just egg whites, can contribute to a chewier texture.
  5. Flour Type: Lower protein flours (like cake flour) produce cookies with a more tender and chewy texture. All-purpose flour is a good middle ground, while bread flour, with its higher protein content, tends to produce cookies with a more structured and less chewy texture.
  6. Baking Time: Overbaking can result in cookies that are dry and crunchy rather than chewy. It’s essential to take the cookies out of the oven when the edges are set but the center is still slightly underdone. They will continue to firm up as they cool on the baking sheet.
  7. Size of Cookies: Smaller cookies tend to be chewier because they have a higher ratio of surface area to volume. This means they cool more quickly, retaining moisture and staying soft.

These turtle cookies have a combination of brown and white sugar in them which result in delicious cookies with that chewy texture.

Chewy Rich Turtle Cookies

Why are they called Turtle Cookies?

Turtle cookies are named after the popular Turtle candy, which is a confection made with pecans, caramel, and chocolate. The candy gets its name because the combination of these three ingredients, when arranged together, is said to resemble a turtle.

Similarly, turtle cookies are inspired by the flavors and ingredients of the Turtle candy. These cookies often include elements like chocolate, caramel, and pecans, capturing the essence of the candy in a baked treat. The name is a nod to the classic flavor combination that has become associated with the turtle confectionery. The pecans represent the turtle’s shell, the caramel is the body, and the chocolate covers the caramel, forming a delightful treat with a rich and chewy texture.

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What can I substitute for Pecans?

If you need to substitute pecans in a recipe due to allergies, preferences, or availability, there are several alternatives you can consider. The choice of substitute depends on the flavor and texture you’re aiming for. Here are some options:

  1. Walnuts: Walnuts have a similar texture and flavor to pecans, making them a suitable replacement in many recipes.
  2. Almonds: Chopped or slivered almonds can be a good substitute. They have a slightly different flavor profile, so be aware that it might alter the taste a bit.
  3. Hazelnuts: Hazelnuts can add a rich and nutty flavor to your recipe. Toast them for extra depth of flavor.
  4. Cashews: Cashews are milder in flavor compared to pecans, but they offer a creamy texture. Consider chopping or crushing them to match the size and texture of pecans.
  5. Macadamia Nuts: Macadamia nuts have a buttery flavor and can provide a unique twist to your recipe.

These substitutions may take away from the traditional flavor of a turtle cookie. However, they should be able to bring delicious nutty flavor to the cookie just like the pecan pieces.

Salted Caramel Sauce

How to make Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce:

For this recipe you can either buy salted caramel sauce from the store if you want to save some time, or you can make your own. Here are the directions for making your own caramel sauce:


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt (adjust to taste)


  1. Heat Sugar: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the granulated sugar over medium heat. Use a spatula to stir the sugar continuously as it begins to melt.
  2. Melt and Caramelize: Continue stirring the sugar until it melts completely and turns into a smooth, amber-colored liquid. Be cautious as the sugar can become very hot. If needed, you can swirl the pan gently to ensure even melting.
  3. Add Butter: Once the sugar has melted and turned amber, add the butter, one piece at a time, stirring continuously until the butter is fully melted and incorporated into the caramel.
  4. Slowly Add Cream: Gradually pour in the heavy cream while stirring constantly. Be careful, as the mixture may bubble up. Continue stirring until the caramel is smooth and well combined.
  5. Simmer: Let the caramel simmer for 1-2 minutes, allowing it to thicken slightly.
  6. Remove from Heat and add Vanilla: Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  7. Add Salt: Sprinkle the flaky sea salt into the caramel, adjusting to your taste preference. Stir well to incorporate.
  8. Cool and Store: Allow the salted caramel sauce to cool for a bit before transferring it to a heatproof container. As it cools, it will continue to thicken. Once at room temperature, you can store it in the refrigerator for future use.
Turtle Cookie Ingredients
Salted Caramel Turtle Cookies
Yield: 24

Turtle Cookies with Salted Caramel Sauce

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Total Time: 58 minutes

These turtle cookies have the best chocolate flavor and chewy texture. They are topped with a salted caramel drizzle and bits of flaky sea salt


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1⁄4 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 cup Pecan Pieces, chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup salted caramel sauce


  1. Cream together softened butter, and sugars.
  2. Next, add in the egg and vanilla. Beat until just combined.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Turn the mixer on low and slowly beat until a soft dough is formed.
  5. Beat in the milk on medium-low speed.
  6. The dough will be very sticky.
  7. Cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 F and remove cookie dough from the refrigerator.
  9. In a small bowl add together the chocolate chips and pecan pieces.
  10. Roll the chilled cookie dough into balls and press the top of the ball into the chocolate chip and pecan mixture.
  11. Place the cookie ball on a lined baking sheet smooth side down.
  12. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cooked through.
  13. Cool on cookie sheet for a couple minutes before tranferring to a cooling rack.
  14. Once cookies are completely cooled, drizzle with salted caramel sauce and top with flacky sea salt.
  15. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

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