Today’s cookie is themed after one of my grandfather’s favorite candies, turtles – blobs of caramel topped with chocolate and studded with 4 whole pecans which jut out of the sides like turtle legs. Turtles are so popular they’ve become the namesake for many desserts with a combo of caramel, pecans and chocolate. This is one of them, and it’s from my contest buddy, Jannine.
Jannine wins all kinds of contests, but where she really excels is state fairs. This recipe won a blue ribbon. To win a state fair, you have to really stand out Jannine did that by using dulce de leche instead of plain caramel and piping it out through a star tip. But that’s not all. She topped the cookie with a pecan then drizzled the whole thing milk chocolate.
The end result looked something like this, though Jannine’s are prettier.
If you like Jannine’s but don’t have a star tip and/or dulce de leche, you can also make your cookies like this. I’ve written how in the notes below.
Chocolate Caramel Turtle Treasures
1/2 cup softened butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg,
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/3 cup Dutch process cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup very finely chopped pecans
1 can (13.4 oz.) Dulce de leche milk caramel (such as Nestle’s LaLechera)
16 toasted pecan halves
4 ounces milk chocolate
2 Tbsp. light cream
Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
Separate egg. Reserve the white, then add yolk, milk and vanilla to the butter and sugar mixture. Beat well.
Combine the flour, cocoa and salt. Add to the wet mixture and mix until combined. Cover and refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove dough from refrigerator and shape into 1 – inch balls. Dip each ball in the reserved egg white, then roll in the finely chopped pecans. Place on greased baking sheets. Using your thumb, make a deep indentation in the center of each ball. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until set.
Place the Dulce de leche milk caramel in a pastry bag with a star tip and fill the center of each cookie. Place a toasted pecan half on top of each cookie and move to a wire rack to cool. In a small microwave safe bowl, microwave the milk chocolate and light cream on high for 30 – 60 seconds or until melted. Drizzle over the top of each cookie and let rest until chocolate is set.
Makes 18 cookies.
Anna’s Notes: My cookies spread a little and the indentations all but disappeared. To fix this, as soon as the cookies came out of the oven, I stuck the handle of a wooden spoon in the center of each cookie and gently molded a hole in the hot baked cookie.
Because the first store I went to was out of dulce de leche, I decided to see how caramels would work. I melted a few at time to experiment and had success with the ratio of 1/2 tablespoon of half & half to 6 caramels. To melt the caramels, put 6 caramels in a large (2 cup) glass measure or microwave safe bowl. Add 1/2 tablespoons half & half. Microwave on high for about 1 minute, stopping every 30 seconds to stir. You’ll probably want to use 18 caramels plus 1 1/2 tablespoon of half & half. Also, you may melt in a small saucepan instead of the microwave.
Instead of using milk chocolate, I used dark chocolate and omitted the cream. To drizzle, I put the melted dark chocolate in a heavy duty zipper bag (freezer bag), snipped a very tiny hole off the corner and drizzled.
UPDATE: It appears that the recipe was adapted from Gourmet Magazine where it was submitted by Sue Morris. The recipe is not on Epicurious, but can be found here.