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It’s Day 4 of Cookie Week! And, today’s recipe is extra special. These caramel pecan turtle cookies were made for a great cause! More on that in a minute…
Before we get to the details, make sure you’re all caught up on the low carb Christmas cookies I’ve been posting this week. (Or just holiday cookies, if you’re like me and don’t celebrate Christmas.) Have you seen the chocolate peanut butter no bake cookies, lemon meringue cookies, and 4-ingredient low carb peanut butter cookies? And my friend, Taryn’s, 5-minute magic cookies?
Okay, now that we have that out of the way, I want to say how excited I am to be partnering with Nuts.com in making these caramel pecan turtle cookies.
I have been ordering from this site for years and years, long before I had a blog. The products are truly of exceptional quality and I can get many low carb staples all in one place. My husband used to joke that we were single-handedly keeping them in business. 😉
Needless to say, when I received the opportunity to work with Nuts.com on a new recipe and donate to a good cause at the same time, I was thrilled. And so, these insanely delicious turtle cookies were born…
What are Turtle Thumbprint Cookies?
If you’re wondering what turtle thumbprint cookies are, they are exactly how they sound. Imagine that shortbread cookies and chocolate turtles got married. These would surely be the result!
If you’re wondering about the gluten-free shortbread cookies I’m referring to, you’re going to love them. I make them every year. In fact, I adore them so much that I’ve been looking for new ways to build on that basic recipe.
Last summer, I even made raspberry cheesecake cookies that were based on this concept. The idea was to make a thumbprint in the shortbread cookie, then add a filling.
Turtle thumbprint cookies are just like that! The shortbread cookie has a thumbprint, which is filled with sugar-free caramel sauce and a roasted pecan in the center.
Of course, the whole thing gets a chocolate drizzle on top. Because you can’t have homemade turtle cookies that aren’t chocolate-y. Obviously.
If you want a similar type of cookie in a no-bake version, try these keto caramel cookies.
How To Make Turtle Cookies
These caramel pecan turtle cookies look impressive, but don’t be intimidated! Even though they take a few steps to make, they are well worth it. And every step is very simple.
If low carb baking is challenging for you, this is one of those recipes that will be easy to master. Just focus on one step at a time. Fortunately, the steps can actually be done in parallel, making the whole process faster.
The recipe card is below, but I want to give you more details on how to bake turtle cookies.
Start by making the sugar-free caramel sauce recipe here. Actually, any caramel will work, so you can use your favorite recipe if mine isn’t for you. I hope it is, though. 😉
You can then make the shortbread cookie dough (using this recipe) at the same time. Scoop the cookie dough balls onto a lined baking sheet.
Before you bake them, use the back of a measuring spoon to press down on each ball and form a well. You can use your thumb if you want to, but I prefer the measuring spoon for perfectly round circles. Totally up to you!
The dough can crack as you form the wells, but it’s not a big deal. Just seal it back together for any big cracks. You can leave the smaller ones alone.
Bake the shortbread cookies, then let them cool a bit to firm up. They’ll be very fragile and crumbly when they are hot, so don’t touch them at first. They’ll get crispy and more sturdy as they cool.
Now, the best part. Spoon the caramel sauce into the cookie wells and press a pecan on top. Try not to touch the cookies as you do this so that you don’t disturb them.
Melt your chocolate chips with some butter. You can do this in a double boiler or the microwave, depending on your preferences. Drizzle the mixture on top of the caramel turtle cookies.
You can let the cookies cool on the counter, or refrigerate to firm up faster. They are ready to eat when they are crispy and the chocolate hardens.
How To Store Turtle Cookies
It’s best to store the chocolate turtle cookies with caramel in the refrigerator. This is mainly due to the caramel filling, which won’t last too long at room temperature.
That being said, they should be fine even at room temperature for about a day or so.
Can You Freeze Turtle Cookies
Yes, you can freeze turtle cookies! I even like them straight from the freezer sometimes – it feels like a frozen treat. If that’s not your thing, just thaw them in the fridge.
A Turtle Cookie Recipe for the Local Food Pantry
I’ve served these caramel pecan cookies for several people and got rave reviews. No one can tell they are low carb and sugar-free! And, it was so convenient that I was able to get almost all the ingredients for them in one place online.
But you know what the best part is? As a thank you for making these turtle thumbprint cookies, Nuts.com is donating $500 worth of food to my local food pantry, The Food Group!
It’s such a nice gesture for the season of giving, and I’m honored to be a part of it. With all the holiday festivities, it’s easy to forget that some people are less fortunate. The truth is, we can all find a way help.
I hope you’ll go check out Nuts.com for the ingredients to make these delicious turtle cookies – and consider donating to your own local food pantry this holiday season, too.
Thumbprint Caramel Pecan Turtle Cookies Recipe - Gluten Free:
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Thumbprint Caramel Pecan Turtle Cookies Recipe - Gluten Free
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Gluten-free Shortbread Cookies
Filling & Topping
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RECIPE TIPS + VIDEO in the post above, nutrition info + recipe notes below!
Click on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Make shortbread cookie dough according to the instructions here, but don't bake yet.
- Use a cookie scoop to place balls of cookie dough onto the baking sheet. Use the back of a teaspoon size measuring spoon (or your thumb) to press down on each ball, creating a well in each cookie. Some cracks on the sides are okay, but re-seal any very large cracks by pressing together.
Bake for about 12-14 minutes, until the edges are golden. Cookies will be very fragile while they are hot - do not handle. Cool for 10 minutes.
- While trying not to touch the cookie edges, use a small spoon to fill each cookie well with a teaspoon of caramel sauce. Press a pecan half on top of the caramel.
- Melt the chocolate chips and butter in the microwave or a double boiler on the stove (stirring occasionally). Drizzle the chocolate over the cookies. Let the cookies cool completely before handling.
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Serving size: 1 cookie
Nutrition Information Per Serving
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database. You can find individual ingredient carb counts we use in the Low Carb & Keto Food List. Net carb count excludes fiber, erythritol, and allulose, because these do not affect blood sugar in most people. (Learn about net carbs here.) We try to be accurate, but feel free to make your own calculations.
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