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Turtle Cookies for Christmas

I make a big batch of Christmas Cookies every year, always sugar and molasses since these are a favorite around here, but a few experiments too. These turtle cookies probably won’t be new to anyone since there are so many different variations out there. I have tried several and this seems to be the one I like the best because its easy (even making the caramel) and because it really does taste like a turtle. I do recommend though not to overbake these. It may look like they are not quite done, but they will finish baking once you take them out.

turtle-cookies-2Turtle Cookies– Makes about 30

Cookie Ingredients: 1 C flour, 1/3 C cocoa powder, 1/4tsp. salt, 1 stick of butter(room temp), 2/3 C sugar, 1 egg  yolk and 2 egg whites, plus one egg white, 2 TB milk, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 1 C chopped pecans.
Caramel Filling:

1 stick of butter, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 4oz. light corn syrup, 4 oz. brown sugar.

Combine flour, cocoa, and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg YOLK, milk and vanilla. Once blended, reduce speed and add dry ingredients. Mix until blended, then form into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

After an hour, whisk the egg whites in a bowl until frothy. Place chopped pecans in a separate bowl. (Your chopped pecans will not be fine enough, so put them through a food processor and pulse a few times to break them down more). Roll the cold dough into 1 inch balls, dip each ball into the egg whites and then roll in the pecans. Place on a cookie sheet. With your thumb, make a well in the center of the dough and then bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

For the caramel, place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan, on medium heat. Stir CONSTANTLY, as you bring the caramel to a simmer. The caramel with start to change color to a darker brown. Once thickened, about 15 minutes, spoon caramel mixture into the thumb print of the cookie. Let sit about 15 minutes before moving to a rack to cool. You will probably have extra caramel left over, but that’s okay. Use it for ice cream, or caramel apple crisp.

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