Pecan Turtle Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies are the perfect treat to add to any holiday cookie tray. Soft & buttery egg-free cookie base topped with a crunchy pecan & chocolate & a salted caramel drizzle.
It’s December and that means it’s officially cookie baking season. It’s our most favorite time of the year and I always seem to get carried away with how many treats I end up making. I can’t help it, snowballs, caramel corn, sugar cookies, fudge – they’re all so much fun to make!
One of our favorite cookies we make every year are Classic Jam Thumbprint Cookies or what I like to call sugary bites of bliss. I can never seem to get my act together to photograph them in time since they always get snatched up as soon as I make them.
My camera has been acting wonky lately so the photos that I took last month didn’t turn out very well. So instead, I’ve got photos of these Pecan Turtle Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies that seem to be the most decent out of the bunch I took.
They start off with the same buttery, melt in your mouth shortbread base. I love this dough because it seriously does not spread much at all.
It’s made with 6 simple pantry ingredients like:
- vanilla extract
- cornstarch which is the key to keeping the cookies nice and soft with no spreading..
Next comes the melted caramels which we add to the filling. We top them off with crunchy pecans and a drizzle of melted chocolate and melted caramel sauce.
These Pecan Turtle Thumbprint Cookies are just the treat we could all use after a long week. They are totally decadent and would make an awesome addition to any holiday cookie platter.
- 15 unwrapped caramel squares
- 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 150 g (2/3 cup) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 128 g (2/3 cup) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 28 g (1/4 cup) cornstarch
- 217 g all-purpose flour divided (1 2/3 cups measured correctly - spoon and level method) plus 1-2 tablespoons as needed
- 1-2 Tablespoons milk *optional and only as needed add a little bit at a time
- 23 pecan halves
- melted chocolate for drizzling
- salted caramel sauce for drizzling
- Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand mixer on medium speed, cream butter, and sugar together until smooth and creamy. Mix in vanilla and beat until combined, scraping down the sides and the bottom of the bowl as needed.
Turn mixer off then slowly add in cornstarch and flour. Turn mixer back on low and beat until the dough starts to crumble and clump together. If dough seems too wet or too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons flour (if too wet) or milk (if too dry - add a little bit at a time) or more as needed.
Turn mixer off and gather the dough with your hands to press the dough down and together while kneading and squishing the dough with your palms to form a big ball. This might take about 2 minutes. The warmth from your hands will soften the dough and form together.
Pickoff 1" pieces and roll and squish tightly into round cookie dough balls (you can roll them in granulated sugar for an extra crunch and sheen if desired) and place about 1.5" apart onto prepared baking sheets. Make an indentation with thumb or using a 1/4 teaspoon in the center of each dough ball.
Bake in preheated oven until set but still pale & not golden, about 10 - 12 minutes. Be careful not to overbake, as the cookies will continue cooking as they are cooling.
Remove from oven and indent center again if necessary. The cookies will continue to cook as it cools.
- Allow to dry on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wired cookie rack to cool completely.
While the cookies are baking, combine the caramel candies and heavy cream in a small saucepan set over low heat. Cook until the caramels are melted, stirring often until the mixture is smooth. Stir in salt. Spoon about a 1/2 teaspoon of caramel into each cookie center.
- Top with pecan and drizzle with melted chocolate and salted caramel. Allow the chocolate and caramel to set and dry.
More holiday cookies: