These grain free turtle cookies have all the taste of chocolate turtles in a neat little thumbprint cookie. Chocolate, caramel and pecans are a classic combination for good reason!
Please welcome Erin from Texanerin Baking back to the blog.
I absolutely love the turtle combination of chocolate, caramel and pecans in cheesecake, brownies, and most of all – in cookies! Once you add the caramel and chocolate to the simple brown sugar cookie base, these grain free chocolate turtle cookies become completely irresistible.
If you prefer a chocolate base in a more traditional grain-based gluten free cookie, try these chocolate turtle thumbprint cookies. You can simply use that cookie base, then follow the instructions here for filling and topping them or follow that recipe exactly as written.
Rolling the cookie dough balls in chopped pecans and mini chocolate chips sounded like a great idea. But when I tried it, the cookies fell apart while baking. Mixing the nuts and chocolate into the dough didn't work either!
So I decided to make things simpler and just stick a pecan half on top of the puddle of dulce de leche and pipe the chocolate on top. It cuts down on the prep time, but preserves the flavor and beautiful presentation.
If you don't want to use dulce de leche, you can use caramel sauce but it needs to be quite firm rather than the runny kind you pour over ice cream. If you've never tried dulce de leche, I highly recommend giving it a try! It's very similar to caramel but with a deeper, more complex flavor.
Dulce de leche is usually found in the ethnic aisle of grocery stores. You need 1/2 cup for this recipe so whether you buy it or make it yourself, you'll have enough leftover to enjoy as you would caramel. My favorite way is straight from the jar with a spoon!
If caramel or dulce de leche isn't your thing, the cookies would make a great base for chocolate ganache or jam filling. You can also play around with the extract type and add citrus zest for a truly unique variation!
Grain Free Turtle Cookies
2 cups (200 grams) blanched almond flour
1/4 cup (33 grams) coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (112 grams) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (109 grams) packed light brown sugar
1 large egg (50 grams, weighed out of shell)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (112 grams) dulce de leche
24 pecan halves (41 grams or 6 tablespoons)
1/3 cup (57 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1 teaspoon coconut oil or shortening
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper and set it aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (almond flour through salt). Set aside. In another medium mixing bowl, beat the unsalted butter and brown sugar using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer at medium speed until well combined and fluffy, about 1 minute. On low speed, beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Add the dry mixture and beat on low until well combined. Let the dough sit for about 10 minutes.
Roll the dough into 1″ (20-gram) balls and place 3″ apart on the prepared baking sheet. Using the rounded part of a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, make an indentation about 3/4 of the way down into each cookie. Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 12 minutes or until browned. The indentations will have puffed up a bit. Use the 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon to re-press the indentations. Let the cookies, which will be very soft at this point, cool completely on the baking sheet.
Once cooled, fill each cookie with 1 teaspoon of dulce de leche (or a little less if your indentations are a little smaller – do not overfill them!) and place a pecan half on top. Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth. Drizzle or pipe the chocolate over the cookies. Keep cookies refrigerated, up to 2 days, until ready to serve. Can also be kept up to 4 hours at room temperature.