Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

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Turtles are that great combination of caramel, chocolate, and pecans. These treats are one of my mother’s favourites. I love Baked Bakery’s idea to transform this confection into a baked good. Their recipe for turtle thumbprint cookies succeeds in finding that balance between a deep, rich chocolate cookie and a sweet caramel. The cocoa powder cuts through the sweetness of the caramel. The crunchy toasted pecans add that extra texture and aroma to the mix. The result is a flavourful cookie that is fancy enough to be served as dessert at the end of a meal. Nuts can be quite expensive, so be careful not to burn the pecans while they are toasting. I just left them in the oven for a few minutes and watched over them.

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Bon appétit!

Recipe adapted from Baked Elements

Yields 30 portions

Ingredients:
•cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg white, separated
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups pecans, finely chopped
•caramel filling
14 ounces (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 1/2 ounces (7 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon heavy cream 35%
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
30 whole pecans, toasted

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Instructions:
•cookies
1) Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
2) Beat the butter and both sugars together until light and airy in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
3) Add one whole egg, one egg yolk, the milk, and vanilla. Beat until combined.
4) Add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.
5) Wrap the dough ball in plastic and let it firm up in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
6) Preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
7) Whisk the 2 egg whites until frothy.
8) Place the chopped pecans in a shallow bowl.
9) Hand-roll 30 dough balls.
10) Dip each ball in the egg whites, then roll it in the pecans, making sure it is completely covered.
11) Place the dough balls on the baking trays and use your thumb to indent the centre of the cookies.
12) Bake the cookies for 12 minutes. At the 8-minute mark, check on the cookies to make sure the indentations are still visible. Do not overbake these cookies, make sure they don’t crack.
13) Remove the trays from the oven and set them on wire racks. Again, check to make sure the indentations are still visible.
•caramel filling
1) Stir together the sweetened condensed milk, the light brown sugar, the butter, the light corn syrup, the heavy cream, the vanilla extract, and the salt togteher in a saucepan.
2) Bring the mixture to a boil.
3) Continue stirring as the caramel thickens and darkens, about 10 minutes.
4) Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the caramel over a strainer into a bowl.
5) Fill the thumbprint indentations of the cookies with the caramel and let set at room temperature for 45 minutes.
6) At the 20-minute mark, place a whole toasted pecan on top of each cookie.

Store the cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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