Chocolate Turtle Cookies with Pecans

Things I dislike in life: Chewy Caramels.

In my opinion, they just seem vastly inferior to decadent liquid caramel, which oozes at first bite. Generally, I like foods that ooze (that are meant to ooze..) In other words*, I love these cookies.

I made them for this year’s Super Bowl party, and they are very much an ode to life’s guilty pleasures. The chocolate cookies turn out crumbly and soft, and I prefer their brownie-like texture to crunchier cookies. Also, having salted caramel brings out their chocolatey goodness. 

* Until late middle school (..high school), I believed that the expression “in other words” was actually “anotherwards.”  Apparently, no one felt the need to correct me sooner. Fun, embarrassing fact.

Chocolate Turtle Cookies with Pecans

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Adapted from the original recipe in America’s Test Kitchen. Also made by Pixelated Crumb.

Makes 30 cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder (my preference)
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, separated, plus 1 egg white
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup melted chocolate for the center (optional)
1 1/4 cups pecans, lightly toasted and chopped fine (I’d stick with pecans since they have a nice sweetness)

Salted Caramel Sauce *

*This recipe for salted caramel is indeed a sauce—the kind you’d put on ice cream. A slightly thicker alternative is: 14 soft caramel candies, microwaved and mixed with 3 Tbsps heavy cream, added salt optional.

Combine flour, cocoa, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until just combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk egg whites. Place pecans in another bowl. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, dip in egg whites, then roll in pecans. Using 1/2-teaspoon measure, make indentation in center of each ball. (I added a small piece of chocolate to the inside of each hole, but this is highly optional, as I’m a fiend.)

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Bake until set, about 10-12 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Remove from oven. While still warm, re-indent the cookies. Fill each with 1/2 tsp salted caramel. Let cool completely.

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