Salted Caramel Turtle Thumbprint Cookies


If you’re going to add caramel you may as well salt it, right? I still haven’t gotten my brother and sister to like salted caramel but one of these days I know it’s going to happen. They must have strange taste buds :).

I’ve been posting cookies like crazy, but tis the season! Besides you can never have too many cookie recipes. And this one, you just can’t do without.

Salted Caramel Turtle Thumbprint Cookies | Cooking Classy

I love that these have all the flavors of chocolate turtles but they’re in chewy cookie form. These fancy and decadent cookies are sure to be a holiday pleaser with young and old alike.

That little hint of salt and finishing drizzle of melted chocolate adds the perfect gourmet touch.

Because of how decadent and delicious these cookies taste, people will think a lot more work went into them than actually did (the store bought caramel makes for a nice shortcut). Happy Holidays and Enjoy!

Salted Caramel Turtle Thumbprint Cookies | Cooking Classy

Salted Caramel Turtle Thumbprint Cookies | Cooking Classy

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Salted Caramel Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

4.5 from 12 votes

A decadent chocolate thumbprint cookie rolled in crunchy pecans, filled with caramel and finished with a chocolate drizzle. The perfect holiday cookie!

Servings: 24
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 24 minutes
Total Time 49 minutes


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg , yolk and white separated
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped pecans
  • 15 caramels (such as Kraft)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp heavy cream
  • Flaky or coarse sea salt
  • 3 oz chopped milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips , or chopped chocolate
  • 2 tsp shortening


  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and salt, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium-high spread until slightly pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in egg yolk (set egg white aside in a bowl in refrigerator) and vanilla extract. Blend in buttermilk. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Shape dough into a ball and drop onto a sheet of plastic wrap, flatten dough into a 6-inch disk then wrap with plastic wrap and chill 45 minutes, until slightly firm (or up to 1 day. If chilling longer than a few hours, I'd recommend letting the dough rest a room temperature a bit so the dough isn't too firm and cracking when making indentations).
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove egg white from refrigerator and whisk vigorously until frothy. Place finely chopped pecans in a bowl. Shape dough into 1-inch balls (18 grams each) then working with one at a time, drop into egg white and roll to evenly coat the lift and allow excess egg white to run off and immediately place in bowl with chopped pecans and roll to evenly coat (if necessary, you can gently press into the nuts to help them stick). Transfer to Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets and make a deep indentation with thumb in the center of each dough ball. Bake in preheated oven until set, about 10 - 12 minutes. Remove from oven then using the bottom of a rounded teaspoon, gently press down on existing indentation (to create more space for caramel). Cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. For the topping:
  4. Place caramels and cream in a microwave safe bowl. Heat mixture in microwave on HIGH power in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Spoon caramel into indentation in cookies and sprinkle tops with a small pinch of sea salt.
  5. Place chocolate and shortening into a separate microwave safe mixing bowl. Heat mixture on 50% power in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Pour into a piping bag or ziplog bag and cut tip of corner. Drizzle over cookies. Allow to set then store in an airtight container.
  6. Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Cook's Illustrated
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies, Thumbprint Cookies
Author: Jaclyn
Salted Caramel Turtle Thumbprint Cookies | Cooking Classy

Salted Caramel Turtle Thumbprint Cookies | Cooking Classy


  • Pam McComas: I make these for the cookie exchange every year, people love it! December 22, 2018 at 1:45pm Reply

  • Mike: Print this for me, please! December 20, 2018 at 7:48pm Reply

  • Brenda: These cookies are AMAZING! They really look beautiful on a Christmas cookie tray too! December 6, 2018 at 4:35pm Reply

  • Stacy: I’ve made these 3 years in a row now…one is my favorite Christmas cookies. Always a big hit! December 5, 2018 at 6:30pm Reply

  • Debbie Raab: Here is the recipe Julie. what ingredients do you have on hand? November 19, 2018 at 12:33pm Reply

  • Theresa: My family and I were not fans of these cookies. We followed the recipe exactly, apart from making the caramel ourselves. They didn’t hold their shape well while baking and came out very thin so that we could barely make an indent with the spoon after removing from oven. They tasted like plain cocoa powder, and for all the work that went into making these cookies, we were very disappointed. Although they are edible, we won’t be making again. December 22, 2017 at 10:46pm Reply

  • Carol: Excellent cookie December 17, 2017 at 12:51pm Reply

  • Lisa: These looked lovely so I made some yesterday for a cookie exchange. They turned out great. I tripled the recipe since I needed 4 dozen for my exchange. I always plan for some bloopers and sample tasting. Don’t get fooled by the 25 minute prep time. It might apply for just making the dough and grinding the pecans. But you have to roll each cookie ball, dip and nut coat which I consider to be prep time too. Thumb print and the additional spoon press is also prep time for the cookie to receive its caramel. Notes: I used more nuts than indicated. I really coated my cookie balls. And you don’t need that much chocolate chips and shortening to decorate the tops. I threw away a bunch of chocolate I didn’t use. December 11, 2017 at 8:11pm Reply

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