Aunt Andrea’s Chocolate Turtle Christmas Cookies

by | Dec 6, 2023

Happy December! We are a week in and I feel like I have already run a holiday marathon. You too? One of my favorite slow downs in December is making these Chocolate Turtle cookies. When I say I only bake cookies once a year, I mean I only bake these one specific cookies once a year. They are that good!

This recipe is like a big hug from my childhood. My Aunt Andrea is an amazing Italian chef and will make 20 different types of Christmas cookies every year. These are my favorite.

browning the ground beef
browning the ground beef

I bet you have many of these ingredients already on hand!

I start by making the chocolate cookie dough and then wrapping it in plastic wrap to chill in the fridge for an hour. Once it’s chilled, I roll the dough into 1 inch sized balls

Quincy Market
soften the veggies

Next, I drop each dough ball into egg whites before rolling in crushed pecans. I then add all the dough balls to a greased or parchment covered cookie sheet and make a thumb print in the middle of each cookie. The cookies don’t spread too much so you can keep them fairly tight on a pan, an inch or two apart.

Canned crushed tomatoes

While the cookies are baking, it’s time time to make the caramel sauce. Simply melt together the caramel candies (I like the Kraft ones) and heavy cream. You can use a pan on the stove but I have found the microwave works fine as well as long as you watch it.

Once the cookies are done, I repress the indentation with a spoon (its a little hot for my thumb!) and then add add a teaspoon of the caramel sauce. Do not overfill!


Quincy Market
Trashy Cornbread
You could stop here and they would be delicious and beautiful but I like to finish with a chocolate drizzle. Simply microwave some chocolate chips with a little shortening to get them to a pourable consistency. I have found the best way to make a pretty zig zag is to pour the chocolate into a plastic baggy and snip the corner.

These are the best cookies I have ever eaten and I know you will love them too. I highly recommend doubling the recipe or they will disappear long before Christmas!


Aunt Andrea’s Chocolate Turtle Christmas Cookies

This recipe is like a big hug from my childhood. My Aunt Andrea makes them every Christmas and now I will share it with you!


  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 8 T. (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1 additional egg white
  • 2 T. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 c. pecans, finely chopped
  • 14 soft caramel candies
  • 3 T. heavy cream
  • 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 tsp. shortening


  • Prepare the Cookies: Combine flour, cocoa, and salt; set aside.
  • With a stand mixer or electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla; mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until just combined.
  • Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
  • Whisk the 2 egg whites in a bowl until frothy. Place chopped pecans in another bowl. Roll chilled dough into 1-inch balls (a cookie scoop helps with this), dip each dough ball in egg whites, and then roll in pecans. Place balls about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Using a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, make an indentation in the center of each dough ball.
  • Bake at 350 degrees until set, about 12 minutes.
  • Prepare the Caramel
  • Filing: Microwave caramels and cream together in a small bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Once cookies are removed from the oven, gently re-press the indentations. Fill each indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon of the caramel mixture. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Prepare the Chocolate Drizzle (optional): Place chocolate and shortening in a small zip-top plastic bag. Set bag in a bowl of warm water to soften. Gently knead the chocolate with your fingers until melted and smooth, placing back in the warm water for a minute or two as needed.
  • Snip a very small hole in the corner of the plastic bag. Drizzle chocolate over the cooled Turtle Cookies.

I hope you try Aunt Andrea’s Chocolate Turtle Christmas Cookies Let me know how it goes in the comments and tag me on Instagram @3daughtersDIY.

Best, Melissa and Girls

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Melissa Moyles

Hi! I'm Melissa

In the borders of being a full time Marketing VP and a full time wife and mom, I strive to build a beautiful home for my family… 1 DIY Project at a time. Join us on this journey!