Turtle Cookies

A twist on an old-fashioned candy favorite.

Turtle Cookies

Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford

Active Time:
30 mins
Chill Time:
1 hrs
Stand Time:
2 hrs
Total Time:
4 hrs 20 mins
2 dozen

Inspired by turtle candies, this recipe combines pecans and chocolate in a playful cookie, bound to be the kids’ favorite. Not only will they love the animal shape, but decorating is a perfect kid-proof project for the little ones that like to be involved in the kitchen.

That’s not to say there isn’t something in these cookies for the adults. Mature palates will enjoy the flavor combination of toasted pecans, bittersweet chocolate frosting, and a cakey buttery cookie just as much as the young ones.

A few pointers for both the adults and kids: To avoid a tough cookie, mix the flour and other dry ingredients into the dough on low speed and just until combined. Otherwise you’ll start to develop gluten.

Also make sure to chill the dough after mixing; this will make it much easier to shape into balls and will give the cookies a better final texture. Lining the baking sheets with parchment is also a must, as it not only makes cleaning up a breeze, but prevents the cookies from sticking to the pan.



  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 large egg, separated

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda

  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

  • 2 1/2 cups pecan halves (about 120)


  • 2 (1-oz.) semisweet chocolate baking squares

  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee

  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted


  1. Beat softened butter and light brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to medium high; add whole egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract, beating until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir together flour, baking soda, and kosher salt in a medium bowl. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until just combined, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl, if necessary. Cover; chill at least 1 hour.

  2. Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in top and bottom positions. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

  3. Arrange pecan halves in groups of 5 on prepared baking sheets, in a star shape to resemble head and legs of a turtle.

  4. Shape dough into 24 (1-tablespoon) balls. Whisk egg white in a small bowl; dip bottom of each dough ball in egg white. Gently press each ball into a cluster of pecans to resemble a turtle’s body.

  5. Bake in preheated oven in batches until cookies are lightly browned around edges, 10 to 12 minutes per batch, rotating baking sheets between top and bottom racks halfway through baking time. Carefully transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely, about 15 minutes.

  6. Spoon frosting evenly over the top of each cookie to resemble a turtle shell. Let stand until completely dry, about 2 hours. Store with wax paper or parchment paper between cookie layers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.


Active 5 min. Total 5 min. Makes about 1 cup.

  1. Place semisweet chocolate squares, coffee, and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over low, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in powdered sugar until smooth. Use immediately.

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