Caramel Chocolate Turtle Cookies
Dough freezes well
Fun to make with kids
Type: Drop cookie
Description: These combine chocolate chip cookies with whole pecans, a layer of caramel and a bit of chocolate on top.
Field Notes: These look like little turtles, if you use your imagination! They are a take-off of caramel/chocolate/pecan turtle candies, but these incorporate chocolate chip cookie dough into the mix. Kids love to eat and to help make them.
45 square Kraft caramels
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups miniature semisweet chocolate morsels
3 2/3 cups pecans halves (you need 225 pecan halves; 5 per turtle)
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons shortening
1. Unwrap each caramel (they are about 1-inch square and come individually wrapped) and press flat into a round shape to about 2-inches across using your fingers. You want to end up with a 2-inch flat circle about 1/4-inch thick; set aside.
2. Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl to aerate and combine; set aside.
3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and brown sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice; beat in vanilla, then beat in eggs. Add about one-third of flour mixture and mix on low speed. Gradually add remaining flour mixture, mixing just until blended. Stir in morsels. Chill dough for at least 2 hours or overnight. (You may freeze dough up to 1 month; defrost in refrigerator overnight before proceeding).
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
5. Drop dough by generously rounded tablespoon 3 inches apart on cookie sheets. Press 5 pecan halves into each cookie mound so that about one-quarter of each nut is embedded in the cookie. You want to situate them so that they look like a head and four feet; the rounded side should face up and they should be flat on the sheet (see photograph). Bake for about 10 minutes or until edges and tops have just begun to turn light golden brown. Center a caramel circle on top each cookie and return to oven for about 4 minutes, or until cookie is golden brown and caramel has softened, but not melted, and is now part of the cookie (it should be attached and almost melted onto it).
6. Place sheets on racks to cool cookies completely. Melt chocolate and shortening in top of double boiler or in microwave and stir until smooth. Pour into parchment cone; this is a lot of chocolate, so you will probably need to use a few cones. Snip a tiny opening and decorate the tops of the turtles. You can make spirals, cross-hatch patterns, zig-zags, etc. Place sheets in refrigerator to firm up chocolate before storing.
Lifespan: 4 days at room temperature in airtight container in single layers separated by waxed (or parchment) paper
Yield: 45 turtles
Good Cookie Tip: Make sure your pecan halves are intact and not chipped, slivered or broken. “Whole” pecan halves will make the best “feet” and “heads”.