Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

These Turtle Thumbprint Cookies are based on the classic dessert with tender chocolate cookies, melted caramel centers and pecans!

We have a real winner here, y’all! These cookies are specially made for BMW. His favorite dessert is Turtle Pie. His mom always gets one for his birthday. Last year we even had one for dessert on Christmas Eve. This year when I was planning my holiday cookies, I asked BMW if he has any requests and he randomly said, “maybe a thumbprint cookie?” And that got me to thinking, we’ll wouldn’t a TURTLE  thumbprint be delicious!? And that is exactly where these came from!

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Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

These cookies have a decadent chocolate cookie base. It’s very nearly close to a brownie. Soft, chocolatey, moist. They make the most perfect place to nestle in a little bit of melty caramel. Topped off with crunchy bits of pecans.

There are few things to make note of for these cookies. When you pull them out of the oven they might very well look under baked. And that is ok because we want to let the cookies rest and continue baking on the baking heat with the residual heat from the oven. The edges of the cookies should be just set when you pull them out. The caramel centers should be melted.

Upon removing the cookies from the oven you will want to immediately sprinkle the pecan pieces on top. Then let the cookies rest for 10 minutes and then move to a cooling rack. I suggest using a big fish spatula for this task. It’s flexible and light and its wide enough to get a good scoop on the cookie and gently transfer it!

Caramels for Baking

The most important part of these turtle cookies is of course the melty caramel centers! For this, you have two options. The first is to make caramel or melt caramels with cream. However, I like to hack this step by using soft candy caramels.

While testing this recipe, we tried a few different types of caramels. We found that Werther’s Soft Caramels were the best. Their chewy caramels melted but once they came to room temperature they were tough to bite into. The soft caramels stayed nice soft and were easy to bite into. There are probably other caramels that will work, so if you find another brand, please drop it into the comments!


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5 from 2 votes

Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

These Turtle Thumbprint Cookies are based on the classic dessert with tender chocolate cookies, melted caramel centers and pecans!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Servings 16
Calories 180kcal


  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 16 soft caramels like Werther's Soft Caramel Candies * See Note
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, or use a hand mixer, to cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. About 2 minutes on medium high speed. Then add egg and vanilla and beat 30-60 seconds more until incorporated.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa and salt. Then add to wet mixture. Use a rubber spatula to stir together to avoid over mixing.
  • Divide dough into 16 portions and place onto baking sheets. Unwrap caramels and fold ends towards middle of candy to make little balls and place into center of each dough ball. Bake for 11 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle tops with pecan pieces. Let cookies continue to cool and finish baking on baking sheets for 10 minutes then transfer to cooling rack. Enjoy warm or keep in air tight container for 5 days.


We tested Werther's Soft Caramels and Werther's Chewy Caramels. The soft caramels (pink) worked like a charm. The chewy (blue) melted in the oven but when they came to room temperature the caramels were hard to bite into. 
If you are unable to find soft caramels, you can melt the chewy caramels with 2 tbsp heavy cream, then create indentions in the cookies and fill them with the liquid caramel immediately after baking. Then top with pecan pieces. 
If the cookies puff up while baking, use a spoon to re-indent the centers before filling. 


Sodium: 103mg | Calcium: 23mg | Vitamin C: 1mg | Vitamin A: 197IU | Sugar: 19g | Fiber: 1g | Potassium: 82mg | Cholesterol: 27mg | Calories: 180kcal | Trans Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Fat: 8g | Protein: 2g | Carbohydrates: 26g | Iron: 1mg
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Natalie Paramore

The places I go, the things I do and what I eat.



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