Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

filed under: Cookies on April 9, 2019

These Turtle Thumbprint Cookies are a delicious melt in your mouth cookie combining the flavors of almond, pecan, caramel, and chocolate. Looking for more great cookie recipes? Check these out!

Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

There are quite a few variations of turtle cookies on the market.  This interpretation is my absolute favorite!  The base is a chewy shortbread cookie, filled to the brim with ooey gooey caramel and then topped with chopped pecans and drizzled with milk chocolate.  These are the kind of cookies that after your very first bite pure bliss overcomes your entire body.  They are so delicious!  Perfect for a holiday cookie exchange or just to have around the house to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Easy Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

How to Make Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

These cookies are impressive.  They look like they take quite a bit of effort.  Spoiler Alert!  They don’t.  These cookies are so simple and whip together in just minutes!  To make this Turtle Thumbprint Cookie recipe you simply cream together butter and sugar, add in some almond extract, and some flour.   Roll this out into 1 1/2 in cookie balls and the hard work is done!  You bake the base for about 14 minutes and then fill in the indentations with caramel, pecans, and chocolate.  I like to use crushed pecans, but I know some people like to put a whole pecan in the center.  That will work too.  For the chocolate, I know some prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate.  Feel free to experiment with the flavors, you really can’t go wrong with this cookie!  I’ve even heard of people using dark chocolate and throwing some sea salt on top!

Thumbprint Cookies

Thumbprint Cookies

The trick to making the perfect thumbprint is not to use your thumb.  Shh, don’t tell anyone.  I like to use the edge of my spoon.  I keep a small plate of flour out and dip the spoon in to prevent sticking and then lightly press to make your circular center.  Now, using your thumb will work too.  I don’t want to upset anyone:). The other tip I will give you on these cookies is to actually roll out the ball with your hands.  If you use a cookie scoop you will get the right size, but don’t skip out on the hand rolling.  This motion seals the cookie dough together and prevents the base from cracking under heat.

Can I store a Thumbprint Cookie?

Are you really worried about having extra?  Just kidding.  Yes, you can freeze and store Turtle Thumbprint cookies.   You might not want a whole batch laying around the house for fear or devouring them all.  After baking, allow the cookies to cool completely, and then place them in a freezer safe container.  I would suggest setting them flat and then adding a layer of parchment paper on top.  Some cookie recipes can just be thrown in a bag, but that will not work with this turtle thumbprint recipe.  Since the caramel needs to freeze to harden, if you just throw them in a bag it will spill out everywhere and make a huge mess (It will still taste amazing though).

Side note about storage:  If you are planning to use these in a cookie exchange, freezing them will be your best bet!  Transporting these cookies might prove to be a bit of a challenge due to the caramel center.  Another alternative would be instead of using the caramel topping, you could melt down a few caramel candies instead.  These will harden as they cool, unlike the caramel topping.

How to Make Thumbprint Cookies

For more great cookie recipes, check these out!

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Maple Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Pecan Sandies

Frosted Sugar Cookies

The Best Snickerdoodle!


4.58 from 7 votes
Turtle Thumbprint
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
18 mins
Total Time
28 mins

These Turtle Thumbprint Cookies are a delicious melt in your mouth cookie combining the flavors of almond, pecan, caramel and chocolate.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: thumbprint cookies, Turtle Thumbprint
Servings: 24
Calories: 104 kcal
Author: Amanda Rettke
Thumbprint Cookie
  • 1 cup (226g) salted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups (256g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/2 cup caramel topping
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Thumbprint Cookie
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and granulated sugar until smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Mix in almond extract, flour, and egg yolk until dough comes together. 

  3. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Using a spoon, (I used a teaspoon) make a small impression in the center of each ball.

  4. Bake for 14-18 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned.  

  5. Cool completely before filling.

  1. Once the cookies have cooled, fill each impression with caramel sauce, and top with pecans.

  2. In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate chips.  Drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of each cookie. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in a plastic bag in the microwave. Just be sure to massage it between heating cycles to make sure it heats evenly.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

The video doesn't show the egg yolk being added, my apologies! Please follow the written recipe. 

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  • Lockette Pamela says:

    I made these cookies and they went flat what went wrong

    • Amanda says:

      I’m so sorry! This is the exact recipe that we have been making for 20 years. However, I heard from my grandma that when she feels like the dough is dry she will add an egg. I tried to get more info out of her… like when exactly do I add the egg?… but she said she just knows by how the dough feels. I will keep testing the recipe and see if I can determine a more concrete answer!

  • Honey says:

    Is there any brand of caramel topping you would recommend?

  • Derek says:

    best recipe i ever read thanks.. for sharing..

  • Cindy says:

    I made 2 batches and with both the cookies went flat. Any suggestions??? They are just delicious so I’m not ready to give up yet

    • Amanda says:

      Oh goodness! So sorry. You can try refrigerating the dough for a few minutes before baking.

  • Pam Schmoock says:

    These cookies flattened out so I experimented with them. I added a little more flour, rolled them intro balls, let them chill. Then I baked them without a thumbprint. As soon as they came out of the oven, I put the thumbprint in with the backside of a teaspoon measure. They looked great then.
    Your recipes are great by the way.

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you, Pam! So you would recommend more flour? (I haven’t had a problem with them flattening here, but I want to make sure that folks can replicate my results at home!). How much flour did you add and how long did you chill for? Do you mind also telling me what state you live in? (Just wondering if elevation is an issue at all.) Thanks again!

  • Prema Das says:

    In thumbprit cookies u didnt add baking powder?

  • Martha says:

    What are you using to drizzle on the chocolate? More to the point, what tool should I buy to perform this drizzling?

    • Amanda says:

      Just a plastic disposable pastry bag.

  • Deb says:

    These came out great, was curious about no baking powder? Made a different recipe this AM w/baking powder and they were flat and tasteless. Tossed that recipe. Also used a little zip lock, cut corner off to lace with chicolate instead of wating a pastry bag. Will use this recipe for my jam filled thumbprints. Always use your recipes and get great results. Thank you!

  • Lisa T says:

    I should have read comments first. Mine all went flat 😢

  • Jennifer says:

    My guess with those whose cookies went flat: your butter was too soft. Super soft butter will always make cookies spread. I put my butter sugar mixture in the fridge to firm it up before starting the rest. I had half melted and half softened butter because I use the microwave as I usually don’t leave butter out on the counter. I bake a ton of cookies every year. The only time they ‘fail’ is when my butternis too soft. Just a thought..

  • Lisa says:

    I took your grandma’s advice and added an egg yolk when the dough was too dry and not coming together. Then I put the dough n the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so. The cookies did not spread and turned out great! Thx for the recipe!

  • Grenetta Bledsoe says:

    Loved the Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies. I used Strawberry and Apricot Preserves that is what I had on hand. Just delicious! The cookies were a little crumbly, but but still delicious and all were eaten.

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