Today is Eat My Blog, L.A.'s biannual charity bake sale benefiting the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. I've been baking up a storm for the past few days, making some insanely delicious peppermint bark (topped with chocolate and peppermint covered pretzels, crushed peppermint cookies and minty marshmallows), as well as chocolate and edible sparkle-covered coconut macaroons. But the treat I can't stop eating is a cookie twist on a traditional pecan and caramel turtle. Basically, it's a homemade chocolate dough rolled into one-inch balls, covered in pecans, baked and filled with salted caramel. They're heavenly (I mean, what isn't heavenly when filled with salted caramel?) and they disappear fast. They're perfect for holiday cookie swaps, sturdy enough to be packaged in individual gift bags and are basically bites of sweet 'n salty goodness. I had to share the recipe, as well as some great step-by-step photos, so you can try your hands at these beauties. If you're a chocolate fan, a nut fan, and a caramel fan, this cookie is for you!
Salted Caramel Turtle Cookies
Salted Caramel Turtle Cookies
Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen
Makes about 30 cookies
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup high-quality cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 large egg, separated, plus one egg white
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups pecans, chopped fine (alternative: buy pecan pieces)
- 14 soft caramel candies
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
Make the dough: Combine flour, cocoa powder, and salt in bowl. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture until just combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour. If you need to work faster, put the dough in the freezer for about 25 minutes.
Assemble the cookies and bake: Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick (e.g. Silpat) liners. Whisk egg whites in a small bowl until frothy. Place chopped pecans in another small bowl. Roll dough in one-inch balls, dip in egg whites, then roll in pecans. You may have to press the ball into the pecans to get them to firmly adhere to the dough. Reshape the balls in your hand, if necessary. Place pecans balls two inches apartment on prepared baking sheets. Using 1/2-teaspoon measure, gently make an indentation in center of each ball. Bake until set, about 12-15 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking.
Repeat until all pecan rounds have indentations
Make the caramel filling: Microwave caramel candies and cream in a bowl (I used a glass measuring cup to prevent the caramel from boiling over the sides), stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Once cookies are removed from oven, gently repress existing indentations with 1/2 teaspoon measure. Fill each indentation with 1/2 teaspoon caramel mixture. Cool 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
Fill each indentation with 1/2 teaspoon caramel mixture
Sprinkle a LIGHT pinch of sea salt -- 4 to 5 granules -- on caramel.You can make these a few days in advance, just make sure to keep them in an airtight container. They're especially great dipped in egg nog or hot chocolate while listening to Christmas carols. Just a thought...