Add these chocolate turtle thumbprint cookies to your favorite Christmas cookie lineup! Each thumbprint is filled with chocolate and gooey caramel flavors, along with a nutty crunch from the pecans. Holiday guests will go wild, not just for the presentation, but because their taste is out of this world! There’s just enough chocolate and caramel filling in every bite, making them the ideal sweet treat!
Cookie trays sure do shine during the holidays, and they wouldn’t be complete without caramel thumbprints! They are rich, decadent, and even make a nice edible holiday gift! Use the leftover candies to make turtle hand pies, caramel brownies, or pumpkin bread pudding with caramel sauce. These desserts are also great for the holidays!
You may be wondering what ends up on our cookie trays. We love letting the kids decorate sugar cookies and a few to look like Santa. For those who like a simple classic, we stack up the peanut butter and oatmeal chocolate chip (they are anything but basic!). We add a few Candy Cane cookies, because they just look so festive, along with Martha Washington candy, and Oreo balls for some variety.
Fun and festive for the holidays.
What’s better than chocolate and caramel combined?
Even though it’s a little bit of a process, they are fairly simple to make.
What Ingredients do I Need for Caramel Thumbprint Cookies?
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
- unsweetened cocoa powder
- unsalted butter
- white sugar
- light brown sugar
- vanilla extract
- heavy cream
- semi-sweet chocolate chips – for chocolate drizzle
Pro Tip: Rolling the cookie dough balls in the egg whites help the pecans to stick better and stay in place while baking.
How to Make Turtle Thumbprint Cookies
PREP: Preheat the oven and line the baking sheets with parchment paper. Stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, and cocoa powder. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugars together until fluffy. Mix in one egg and one yolk, reserving the egg whites, and the vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet, and mix. Chill, covered, in the fridge for 1 hour.
FORM THE COOKIES: Use a 1.5-tablespoon cookie scoop to make dough balls. These should be about 1-inch balls. Whip the egg white until frothy. Dip each cookie ball into the egg white and place it on the baking pan.
BAKE AND FILL: Use the back of a spoon to make the indentions, pressing halfway down. Bake until the bottom edges are slightly browned. Remove the cookies from the oven. Heat the caramels in the microwave in 30-second intervals and stir until smooth. Fill each thumbprint and allow them to cool.
PIPE THE CHOCOLATE: Melt the chocolate chips and transfer them to a piping bag. Drizzle the chocolate over the cooled cookies.
- Don’t over-measure the baking powder. Just a small amount helps to hold their compact shape.
- If desired, use homemade caramel. It needs to be thick enough to set, but not really hard when you bite into them.
- Do not press all the way down on the cookies when making the thumbprints.
- The centers may puff up while baking. Use the teaspoon to gently re-press.
Thumbprint cookies came from Sweden and were originally made with raspberry jam.
Keep turtle thumbprints in an airtight container for 3 days on the counter or in the freezer for 3 months. Allow the cookies to thaw before serving so the caramel isn’t too hard.
Originally people would use their thumbs to make the indention in the dough to add the filling, jam, or other mixture.
Thumbprint cookies are just those that have a filling on top where you use your thumb or a gadget to make the indention for the filling. These cookies do not have to be shortbreads, but most that are filled with jam are.
Chocolate Turtle Thumbprint Cookies
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ¾ cup light brown sugar packed
- 2 large eggs divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups finely chopped pecans
- 30 caramels
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips for chocolate drizzle
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together on high speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
- Beat in one egg plus one egg yolk (reserve the whites) and vanilla until well mixed.
- Pour dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and beat just until well mixed. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
- Use a 1 ½ tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop the dough. Roll into balls between your hands.
- Whisk the reserved egg white in a small bowl until very frothy/foamy.
- Coat the dough ball in frothy egg whites and then roll in the chopped pecans.
- Place each ball on the prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart.
- Using the back of a teaspoon, press about half way down into each cookie to create an indent for the caramel.
- Bake for 11-13 minutes or until bottom edges look slightly browned.
- Remove cookies from the oven. If the centers have puffed while baking, use your teaspoon to gently re-press the indentation.
- Heat the caramels and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds at a time in the microwave. Stir until smooth.
- Spoon melted caramel in the center of each baked cookie’s indentation. Allow to cool completely.
- Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, heating for 30 seconds at a time and stirring between, until melted. Drizzle the chocolate over the cooled cookies.
Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months. NOTES: The egg whites help the pecans to stick to the dough ball and stay in place while baking (tip from https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/turtle-thumbprint-cookies/) These are a thumbprint cookie – using just a small amount of baking powder helps the cookies to retain their compact thumbprint shape. You can also use homemade caramel in these cookies – you want a caramel that is thick enough to set, but not hard, which would make it difficult to bite into.