Cookie Week: Turtle Thumbprints

Cookie Week '12 - Turtle Thumprints - Drizzled
It’s Cookie Week! That’s great news if you’re a cookie lover; even better news if you’re a supporter of Cookies for Kids Cancer. This year, my blogging friends and I will again be baking to support this very worthy cause. For each cookie baked, sold, exchanged, or gifted Glad will donate $1 (up to $100,000). In addition, OXO (one of my favorite brands) has initiated the “OXO Matching Gift Program” and will match all proceeds from registered bake sales as part of their $100,000 pledge to Cookies for Kids Cancer. I’ve loved these brands for years, but I love them even more for their unwavering commitment to ending pediatric cancer. I’m sending a big thank you and hug to OXO & Glad.

And now on to the cookies! I chose Turtle Thumbprint Cookies this year. Risky, since I’ve never made them before, but when I saw them on Pinterest, I couldn’t resist. It’s one of my favorite flavor combinations – chocolate, caramel & toasted nuts. I love turtles – whether in cookie, brownie or ninja form. These are no exception. It all starts with a rich, truffle-like dark chocolate dough.

Dark Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies:
(adapted from The Kitchen is my Playground, and America’s Test Kitchen)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Hershey’s ‘Special Dark’ cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick of unsalted Land O’ Lakes butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, separated + 1 extra egg white
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups toasted pecans, finely chopped
1 jar of dulce de leche caramel, for filling
6 ounces of chocolate chips, for drizzling

For the cookie dough:
Combine the flour, cocoa & salt; set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg yolk, milk & vanilla; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Reduce the mixer speed to low and blend in the flour/cocoa mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (at least one hour). Once firm, scoop 1 tablespoon of dough into the palm of your hand and roll into a ball. Continue until all the dough has been rolled into balls.

Cookie Week '12 - Turtle Tumbprints - Perfectly Shaped Dough Balls

To assemble the thumbprint cookies:
Whisk both egg whites until frothy. Place the chopped pecans in a separate bowl and keep nearby. Using a fork, lower each cookie ball into the egg whites, rolling to make sure they’re completely coated.

Cookie Week '12 - Turtle Thumbprints - Finish Prep

Cookie Week '12 - Turtle Thumbprints - Egg White Wash

Remove from the egg wash and immediately drop it into the bowl of nuts. Roll or toss until the dough ball is completely coated in nuts.

Cookie Week '12 - Turtle Thumbprints - Pecan Coating

That last photo reminds me of “Where’s Waldo?” Can your find the cookie? Here’s an example of a perfectly coated cookie ball:

Cookie Week '12 - Turtle Thumbprints - A Perfectly Coated Ball

Place the cookies 2″ apart onto cookie sheets (I recommend using a silicone mat or parchment). Using your finger or a round wooden spoon handle, press a divot into the top of each cookie. The bigger the divot, the more caramel it holds.

Cookie Week '12 - Turtle Thumbprints - A Perfect Divot

Bake at 350F for 12-14 minutes, depending on your oven. You want them to just be done. Bake too long, and they’ll start to split and crack around the outside edges which will wreak havoc when you try to fill them with caramel. And we don’t want that. When they’re cooled to room temperature, grab your favorite dulce de leche caramel. I’m using this jar of unholy goodness sent to me by my friend Kat at Tenaciously Yours. It’s sea salt caramel from Trader Joe’s and it’s divine. Ima need a new jar soon. Or two. Or twelve.

Cookie Week '12 - Turtle Thumbprints - Trader Joe Caramel

Spoon just enough caramel into each cookie to fill the divot without running over the top. They get really messy when they run over the top.

Cookie Week '12 - Turtle Thumprints - Oh Sweet Caramel Goodness

Now grab your favorite milk chocolate and melt it; whisking until smooth. I like to scrape it into a plastic zip-style Glad bag so I can drizzle quickly and easily (plus it makes clean-up a snap). Just twist the baggie to press the chocolate into one corner, then snip the tip and drizzle like a pro. If you want to get all fancy-pants, you can top these with a toasted pecan. I tried it, but I’m not sure I like having my view of that sea salt caramel blocked. Caramel is meant to be seen.

Cookie Week '12 -  Finished Turtle Thumbprints

Notes from my personal experience with this recipe:
1. The dough balls (uncoated) can be made and frozen in advance in airtight freezer bags. Just thaw before coating with egg wash & nuts and baking.

2. The recipe called for regular cocoa, but I’m a dark chocolate lover so I substituted the Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa and it rocked.

2. Almonds can be substituted for pecans. And if you’re a Snickers fan, I’m betting peanuts would be pretty tasty, too.

3. The original recipe (as seen on Pinterest) called for using 14 wrapped soft caramel candies, melted down with 3 tablespoons of heavy cream. I chose the jar of sea salt caramel because I had it on hand and it’s delicious.

4. This recipe says it makes approximately 30 cookies. I tripled the recipe for a holiday cookie exchange and it worked perfectly. It made exactly 90 cookies. You’ve got to love truth in advertising.

Speaking of truth in advertising, are you familiar with the OXO brand? They make some of my favorite kitchen gadgets – including my digital scale, measuring & cooking utensils, mandolin, etc. Their Good Grips utensils are my ‘go to’ products. I love them, and that’s the truth. Last week, this box of goodies arrived via the OXO Blogger Outreach Program. It contains two OXO items that came in handy for cookie baking. Perfect timing!

Cookie Week '12 - Turtle Thumbprints - OXO Box of Love

The box included the OXO “Be A Good Cookie” spatula and the cutest set of miniature measuring cups I’ve ever seen. First, check out this spatula.

Cookie Week '12 - Turtle Thumbprints - OXO Good Cookie Spatula

Proceeds from the sale of OXO Good Cookie spatulas help support Cookies for Kids Cancer and the good work they do. If you’re looking for stocking stuffers for the cooks/bakers in your family, this is perfect. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. You know what else would make a great stocking stuffer? These adorable and highly useful miniature measuring cups. I just can’t get over these. And did I mention they nest? Love, love, love them!

Cookie Week '12 - Turtle Thumbprints - OXO Mini Measuring Cups

Stay tuned for updates all week long as other Cookie Week bakers share their holiday favorites. For instance, Kirsten at Comfortably Domestic kicked off our Cookie Week shenanigans yesterday with decorated shortbread cookies and a King Arthur Flour giveaway. You’ll want to check out that giveaway!

Other Cookie Week bloggers will include Megan at Country Cleaver, Kat at Tenaciously Yours, Mads at La Petite Pancake, Allison at Decadent Philistines Save the World, Carrie at Bakeaholic Mama, and Madeline at Munching in the Mitten.

And if you’re baking for your friends & family and would like to join our alliance to fight pediatric cancer, drop me a comment with your cookie count and we’ll include it in our total number. Help Glad & OXO and bakers everywhere support Cookies for Kids Cancer – one sweet treat at a time.

Cookies for Kids Cancer Button

Monday: Kirsten @ Comfortably Domestic – Decorated Shortbread & King Arthur Flour Giveaway

Tuesday: Mads @ La Petite Pancake – Honey-Glazed Lemon Yogurt Cookies

Wednesday: Madeline @ Munching in the Mitten – Chocolate Chunkers & Megan @ Country Cleaver – Homemade Mint Oreos & Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama – Maple Bacon Sugar Cookies

Thursday: Allison @ Decadent Philistines – Sesame Plum Thumbprints & Kat @ Tenaciously Yours – Colossal Cookies

Friday: Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama – Brown Sugar Toffee Cookies & Kirsten @ Comfortably Domestic – Gingersnaps

Saturday: Madeline @ Munching in the Mitten – Salted Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies & Kirsten @ Comfortably Domestic – Egg Nog Logs

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20 Comments

Filed under Blogger Collaborations, Food & Recipes, Things I Love

20 responses to “Cookie Week: Turtle Thumbprints

  1. They look awesome!!!! Turtles were my favourite chocolates as a kid! Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Amy

    Hi Jeanne! I have a question. Wait – hold on – it’s hard to type when my fingers are slipping on and off the keys (the drool dripping off my chin as I gaze at those unbelievable cookies is not conducive to accurate or quick keyboarding). Back in a jiff – just let me grab a towel. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Ok, on to the question :) Are you saying that any cookies I bake and give away can be added to your group’s total – and will therefore be worth TWO DOLLARS in Glad and OXO donations to curing pediatric cancer?!?

    • Here’s the lowdown, Amy: According to the Cookies for Kids Cancer website, Glad will donate $1 per cookie that is given, exchanged or sold until they meet their $100,000 commitment. Heck, they don’t even have to be REAL COOKIES! If you visit the website and send a ‘virtual cookie’ to a friend, that counts, too! In addition, OXO has also pledged to match all bake sale proceeds up to $100,000 as well. So until these two companies max out, all cookies count. So please do send us your cookie count, and we’ll add them to our group’s total. I’d love to see us beat last year’s cookie total!

      PS – Thanks for wiping down your keyboard before typing. :)

      • Amy

        Sooooo – I made a double batch this weekend, and they are, quite simply, divine. I would, however, make a few changes next time around:
        (A) I will use the Special Dark cocoa, as you recommended. I didn’t this time because I thought my boys might balk at the “darkness” – and after making them, I’ve decided whether they balk or not is no concern of mine. These cookies neeeeeed dark cocoa.
        (B) I will follow your directions more closely, and wait to put the caramel in until AFTER baking the cookies. *Sigh* I made the dough on Saturday (and definitely remember reading – and even pointing out to my youngest son – that we would be cooking the empty cookies, then filling them with caramel), but didn’t end up with time to cook them until Sunday. Clearly, by then, I completely forgot that part; after a quick check of your blog for the oven temp and the cook time, didn’t read any further. *Heavy sigh* FYI – the caramel leaks out everywhere if it’s in the cookie while baking – though of course you know that. Still yummy – just not at all pretty.
        (C) I didn’t have salted caramel (which is also divine!) so I used regular, but sprinkled sea salt on top after filling. A little salty sparkle never hurt anything, right??
        Thanks for a GREAT recipe, Jeanne!

      • Amy, I apologize for not responding sooner. The Complete Package and I went off the grid for a week. I wasn’t sure how I’d survive a week without The Internetz, but it was FABulous! Reading your comment when I got reconnected made me laugh out loud. This is SO something I would do (and have done). I still haven’t made that rustic bread in a Dutch oven yet because I get everything out to make it for dinner, and then read the recipe again – where it says to let it rise over night. Then I put everything away because I can’t wrap my head around 2-day “easy” bread. So I feel your pain on putting the caramel in to early. And I hope you make them again with the Special Dark cocoa. Dark is best with these cookies. Let me know if you give them another shot, and I’m so glad you enjoyed them!

  3. Pingback: Cookie Week, Day 2: Honey Covered Turtles…or something like that. « Comfortably Domestic

  4. Yummers – like a cookie and a candy!!!

  5. Oh LAWDY, Jeanne! What are you trying to do to me with those ridiculous cookies?! They’re like all my favorite things slammed into cookie form, and the are *gorgeous* to boot! Have some mercy on me, Sister!

    Love, love, LOVE that you are enlisting your readers to contribute to our Cookie Week Exchange total. Brilliant!

    • I know, I know. I suffered baker’s guilt when I made these given that you just found out you’re allergic to nuts. Then I thought, “No. She would want me to go on.” And I remembered the words of the great Spock who said, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” You could always try these with toasted, ground sunflower seeds. Right?

      • You did exactly as I would have wanted. When in doubt, Soldier On! I wonder how sunflower seeds would work? Call me crazy, but I’m sure they’d be fabulous even without the crunchy coating.

      • Sunflower or pumpkin seeds could be interesting as a substitute for pecans. I’m also wondering about cereal crunched up. Corn flakes maybe? When it comes to experimenting, I’m sticking to my sci/fi fantasy movie quote theme with “There is no try, Luke. There is only DO.”

  6. Don’t we all wish we had a jar of salted caramel on hand for those emergency turtle thumbprint cookie emergencies. Lol. Those cookies look like they have a whole lot goin on, and I want to be a part of it. Nummy!

    • Jar? I think I need a case of it to store in the closet under my stairs. That’s my weather emergency bunker. I think I could forget about a hurricane if I had a lantern, a spoon, and a case of that caramel.

  7. These are wonderful! I could eat a box full, no problem:)

    • I’m with you, Paula. These are deadly. I swear, that cookie dough is so good I considered just dipping those dough balls in chocolate and calling them Cookie Dough Truffles. I’m going to have to make it again and just slice & bake it. It’s a dark chocolate lover’s kind of dough.

  8. Pingback: Cookie Week, Day 3: Maple, Bacon, and Chocolate…Oh My! « Comfortably Domestic

  9. Jeanne, it’s taken the better part of 10 minutes to complete this comment because I kept scrolling up for another gawk at these tantalizing Turtle Thumbprints. Then I’d have to compose myself, my thoughts… Then I’d pause at the pic of Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce because I had no idea they sold one. Mrs. W. does the shopping there, perhaps next time I should tag along! Not only did you top your inspiration, but your support of Cookies for Kids Cancer is tops in my book. Brava my friend!

    • Brooks, I was so excited to see your tweet on Twitter tonight that you actually made these turtle thumbprints! Guess that excursion to Trader Joe’s was a raging success. Loved the photo – they are perfectly lovely. Hope you enjoy that dark chocolate & caramel combination as much as I do. Today was Turtle Kismet. I baked another 8 dozen for a cookie exchange this Saturday. Guess it’s true – great minds think alike!

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