Salted Caramel Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

Published December 13, 2013. Updated March 11, 2020

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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 Thumbprint Cookies

Salted Caramel Turtle Thumbprint Cookies | Cooking Classy

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4.70 from 10 votes

Salted Caramel Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

A decadent chocolate thumbprint cookie rolled in crunchy pecans, filled with caramel and finished with a chocolate drizzle. The perfect holiday cookie!
Servings: 24
Prep25 minutes
Cook24 minutes
Ready in: 49 minutes



  • 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).
  • 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 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.
  • For the topping:
  • Place caramels and heavy 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.
  • 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.


Recipe adapted slightly from Cook's Illustrated
Nutrition Facts
Salted Caramel Turtle Thumbprint Cookies
Amount Per Serving
Calories 171 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 20mg7%
Sodium 46mg2%
Potassium 87mg2%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 157IU3%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 24mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.
Salted Caramel Turtle Thumbprint Cookies | Cooking Classy