A recipe for easy chocolate cookies stuffed with caramel and coated in chopped pecans. These Chocolate Turtle Cookies are the ultimate dessert!

A close up view of chocolate turtle cookies on a baking sheet.

Are you in full cookie baking mode yet? I sure hope so, because this is the time of year for cookies galore!  

While I was growing up in Arkansas, we always celebrated the holidays with traditional southern food. But one thing that was always on our dessert table was some sort of turtle dessert. So, I decided to transform a classic dessert that everyone around here enjoys into a cookie. And these Chocolate Turtle Cookies were born.

Let me tell you, these Chocolate Turtle Cookies are incredibly hard to resist. Just look at all of that gooey caramel in the center!

A bag of Bob's Red Mill all-purpose flour next to a bag of gluten-free 1:1 flour.

Ingredients for This Recipe

These caramel chocolate pecan cookies have a simple ingredient list: 

  • All-purpose flour: I used Bob’s Red Mill Organic Unbleached All Purpose White Flour, but any brand will work.
  • Cocoa powder: Be sure to use unsweetened cocoa powder for this recipe. 
  • Baking soda: Gives the cookies a little lift. 
  • Salt: Enhances the chocolate flavor. 
  • Unsalted butter: I recommend using unsalted butter since the amount of salt in salted butters can vary between different brands.
  • Sugar: I prefer to use a combination of brown sugar and granulated sugar in all of my cookie recipes.  Brown sugar adds extra flavor, a little more moisture, and makes the cookies slightly chewier. 
  • Egg: Should be room temperature before being mixed into the dough. 
  • Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract will deliver the best flavor. 
  • Soft caramel candies: Not all “soft caramels” are created equally. In fact, some soft caramels can be a little hard to chew. So, find a caramel that is actually soft. If you use a soft caramel in the center of these cookies, the caramel will continue to stay soft once the cookies have cooled.
  • Pecans: Make sure to chop the pecans on the smaller side so they stick better to the cookies.

Unbaked chocolate cookie dough balls on a baking tray being prepared for the caramel candy filling.

How to Make Turtle Cookies 

To make these pecan chocolate caramel cookies, you’ll start out by making an easy chocolate cookie dough. I’ve been using this recipe for quite some time now and it is absolutely delicious! The cookies always turn out so soft, chewy, and chocolatey. 

You’ll whisk the flour together with some cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Then comes the best part, the butter and sugar. Once you’ve creamed together the butter and sugar for a minute or two, you’ll mix in your egg and vanilla extract.  

Then, you’ll slowly mix in the dry ingredients and boom, your cookie dough is finished. I told you these were easy, right?

I suggest chilling the dough for about 30 minutes before you stuff the cookies and bake them. Once the dough is chilled, stuff a caramel in the center of each ball of cookie dough.   

Then, roll your cookies in some chopped pecans and bake them for about 10 to 12 minutes. 

Unbaked balls of turtle cookie dough on a Silpat-lined baking tray.

Do I Have to Chill the Cookie Dough? 

Yes, I recommend chilling the dough for this turtle cookie recipe. Chocolate cookie dough can be a little sticky to work with sometimes. By chilling the dough first, it will be much easier to work with and the cookies will bake up thicker too!

Storage Instructions 

The cookies may be stored on the counter in an airtight container for up to five days. Cookies may also be frozen for up to three months, simply thaw to room temperature before serving.

Three turtle cookies on a white plate. One cookie has been torn in half. Additional cookies rest in the background.

Baking Tips

  • I only used half of a caramel candy in these pictures. If your caramel candies aren’t too large, you can use a whole one to add a little extra caramel goodness inside your cookies. I have also tried using a whole caramel in these cookies and they turned out wonderfully!
  • I used Werther’s original soft caramel candies in this recipe. 
  • Don’t use caramel sauce in place of the caramel squares. Caramel sauce will ooze right out of the cookies. 

More Chocolate Cookie Recipes to Try! 

Chocolate Turtle Cookies

4.86 from 7 ratings
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Chill Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
A recipe for easy chocolate cookies stuffed with caramel and coated in chopped pecans. The Chocolate Turtle Cookies are the ultimate dessert!

Ingredients

Servings: 18 cookies
  • 1 and 1/3 cups (165 grams) all purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
  • 1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter , softened
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg , at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 9-10 soft caramel candies , unwrapped and cut in half
  • 3/4 cup (90 grams) chopped pecans

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar for 1-2 minutes; mix in the egg and vanilla extract until fully combined.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Cover the cookie dough tightly and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.
  • Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator. Using a cookie scoop or spoon, measure out two tablespoon sized pieces of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Flatten each piece of cookie dough, place half of a soft caramel candy in the center, then wrap the dough back around the caramel, and roll the dough into a ball. Roll the top and sides of each ball of cookie dough into the chopped pecans.
  • Place each piece of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets, making sure to leave a little room between each one. Bake in two separate batches at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

Caramel: If your caramel candies are not too large, feel free to use a whole caramel candy in each cookie.
Storage instructions: Cookies may be stored on the counter in an airtight container for up to five days. Cookies may also be frozen for up to three months, thaw at room temperature before serving.
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Author: Danielle
Did you make this recipe?Mention @livewellbakeoften on Instagram or tag #livewellbakeoften.