TURTLE THUMBPRINT COOKIES — Delightful chocolate nut thumbprint cookies with a caramel filling and chocolate drizzle.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that these shot straight to the top of my must make Christmas cookie list. Besides all that caramel, I love that the dough isn’t too sweet.

I find that a food processor is the best way to finely chop the nuts, but I’ve also used my blender with good results.

With a drizzle of chocolate, these cookies are as pretty as they are delicious. I always double the recipe. With five of us, a single batch wouldn’t last a day!


Delightful chocolate nut thumbprint cookies with a caramel filling and chocolate drizzle.


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, separated, plus 1 additional egg white
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup pecans, very finely chopped
  • 18-19 caramels, unwrapped
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips or melting chocolate (optional)


  1. In a medium bowl combine flour, cocoa, and salt.
  2. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
  3. Reduce speed to low and blend in flour mixture. Cover dough and refrigerate for one hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Whisk egg whites in a bowl until frothy. Place chopped pecans in another bowl. Roll chilled dough into 1-inch balls, dip in egg whites, and then roll in pecans, coating evenly.
  6. Place cookies about 2 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Using a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, make an indentation in the center of each dough ball. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until just set.
  7. Meanwhile, microwave the caramels and cream together in a small bowl for one minute. Stir and return to the microwave in 20-30 second increments, until caramel is melted and smooth.
  8. Once cookies are removed from the oven, gently re-press the indentations. Fill each indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon of the caramel mixture.
  9. Cool on the pan for about 10 minutes before transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Prepare the Chocolate Drizzle (optional). Place chocolate in a small zip-top plastic bag. Set bag in a bowl of warm water to soften. Gently knead the chocolate with your fingers until melted and smooth, placing back in the warm water for a minute or two as needed.
  11. Alternately, chocolate can be melted in the microwave at 50% power. Snip a small corner from the bag and drizzle chocolate over cookies.