Turtle Cookies

I try to not to make lofty claims when it comes to the recipes you see here on MBA. I’m certainly known to wax poetic about my latest creations, but I try not to toss around words like best, perfect, etc. too often. That’s simply because I know tastes vary and what pleases my palette, may simply not entice you at all.

Then one day I created these Turtle Cookies. I used my favorite chocolate chip cookie dough base and added caramel bits and chopped pecans into the mix. After one taste of the dough, I knew I had something amazing sitting in my KitchenAid. I impatiently waited for the dough to chill, rolled it into balls and threw them into oven. Then I gawked at them through the oven door while crossing my fingers hoping that the caramel pieces wouldn’t do something funky to the cookies.

They baked up perfectly – the caramel pieces melted a bit and created an an incredible, buttery, flavor within the cookies. Once they cooled, the caramel bits turned into slightly crunchy little nuggets of toffee – which paired perfectly with the pecans and dark chocolate chips.

I was proud of these cookies and knew if I kept them in the house, I’d devour them – one after another until I ended up in a cookie induced coma. So I packed them up and dropped them off to my dad and John, my mom’s boyfriend. Within a few hours I received a text message from my mom and a phone call from my dad declaring these babies to be, “the best cookies ever”.

I really think I’ve got cookie nirvana here, but I’d love to know what you think. Although these cookies call for a 24 hour chill time, I guarantee you’ll think they are worth every single minute!

Turtle Cookies

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies


2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1 2/3 cups bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 cup caramel bits
1 cup chopped pecans


1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
3. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds.
4. Drop chocolate pieces, caramel bits, and pecans into dough and gently combine.
5. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
7. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet
8. Bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more.
9. Repeat with remaining dough.


-For regular sized cookies, use a heaping tablespoon and bake for approximately 12 minutes.
-I used Caramel Bits from King Arthur Flour, but I have seen the Kraft variety at my local market - although I can not attest to how they perform in this recipe.
-Recipe adapted from Jacques Torres and The New York Times.

Copyright © My Baking Addiction.

106 Responses to “Turtle Cookies”

  1. The American Palate — September 27, 2011 at 4:51 am

    Oh my, These cookies looks like the best cookies evvvvverrrrrrr! Beautiful photography~


  2. Pamela — September 30, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Looks like I need to add caramel bits to the shopping list. Can’t wait to try these. The sooner, the better!


  3. Joan — October 7, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    LOVE this recipe! Did not have the flours you used to I used AP flour and the cookies came out just fine. Thanks the Lord for caramel bits!!!!


  4. Patti — October 15, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    I am making these for the 3rd time. And I have to share them because I will eat them all in one sitting! Not wise Everyone I give them to loves them! I think I have found my favorite cookie! LOVE your site!


  5. Cheryl — November 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    These were so yummy! I didn’t read the instructions all the way though (my bad), and didn’t refrigerate the dough before baking. Didn’t affect the taste though. Brought them to work and they were all gone by lunch.


  6. Maja — November 26, 2011 at 2:59 am

    How many cookies comes out of the recipe? If i make Them the same size as yours?
    These look amazing btw!!! I’m Looking soooo forward to bake them!


  7. Forever44 — December 15, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Just made your delicious Turtle Cookies – yummy flavor – but mine came out more flat than yours in your picture. I love the thickness n crackle look of yours…any ideas why I would have had more of a flatter cookie? The dough sat over night, and baked the next afternoon. THANK you for your comments and feedback., in advance.


    • Forever44 — December 15, 2011 at 5:35 pm

      …forgot to add, I used the Hershey Dark Choc Chips, so not sure if that may have made a difference?

  8. Floyd — March 20, 2012 at 2:49 am

    Those were probably the best cookies I have ever eaten. And I am going to try them again!


  9. Catherine Dominguez — April 4, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    I made these for a family dinner, and everybody loved them! Now, my husband has requested a batch for his group at work. The first time I made them they flattened out a little too much for my liking, so this time I baked them at 325.F for 14 minutes and they came out perfectly. Thank you, my extended family thanks you, and now a very happy software group will thank you! Btw, I used the Tablespoon scoop.


    • Jamie — April 5, 2012 at 8:16 am

      I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed these! Thanks so much for taking the time to report back on your experience with the recipe.

  10. Melissa — May 14, 2012 at 2:05 am

    Hey! I saw these and really want to make these for a girl I work with. She is moving to Florida on Wednesday and I want to do something special for her, before she goes.
    I have only one question about this recipe: Is it ok to just use AP flour, or it is better to use the different flours? I don’t know if it would make a difference.
    Can’t wait to try these. They look yummy!!! Thanks!


    • Jamie — May 14, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      I definitely recommend using the suggested flours for this recipe – they create a seriously amazing texture. Have a great day.

  11. CeciliaB — June 16, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Thank you so much for the great recipe! I recently discovered this on Pinterest and have made them half a dozen times already! I am going to do the NYTimes recipe with just the chocolate chips next. Have you tried adding other items to the base recipe like M&M’s, peanut butter chips, or white chips? Thanks again! They are DELICIOUS!!!!


  12. Nancy Goff — August 29, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    I’m picky … but this is the best cookie I’ve ever made – It’s the best cookie I’ve ever tasted.
    I am delighted.


    • Jamie — August 31, 2012 at 6:54 pm

      I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed the cookies – they’re one of my faves! Thanks so much for coming back and sharing your experience with the recipe. Have a great day.

  13. Rae — October 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    I am dying to try these out… Quick question though
    Does using only cake flour affect the cookie dough …. And what type of caramels can i use as there are no caramel bits/kraft caramels anywhere in South Africa… Could i just use any toffee and chop them up?


    • Jamie — November 1, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      Hello. Yes, you will definitely have a different texture without the cake flour – not a bad texture, just different. I typically use caramels from King Arthur Flour, but I think toffee would be delicious too. Have a great day.

  14. Cookin' Cowgirl (wanna'be) — November 11, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Oh my goodness! I love these cookies! -Best recipe for them that i’ve discovered so far!
    I’ll defiantly be stopping by your blog from now on – You’ve got so many great recipes to try!!!


  15. Erin — March 19, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Only thing I did different was use Heath bits. These cookies are fabulous! Look good and taste even better. Tremendous recipe. Thank you once again!


  16. Helen — June 22, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    The house smell wonderful with these cookies in the oven. How can I scoop the dough without using chisel and hammer? Lol the dough was so hard after been sitting in the fridge for 36 hours. Don’t have bits so I used Kraft caramel squares cut them into 8. Thank you for a great recipe


    • Jamie — September 13, 2013 at 7:37 pm

      Hi Helen,
      You can let the dough come up a little in temperature by leaving it on the counter. Just don’t let it get too warm. I typically let it sit out for about 10 minutes, scoop onto trays, and then put it back in the refrigerator to chill while the first batch is baking. Otherwise, your dough will get to warm with the oven on too.
      – Jamie

  17. Kristi — October 25, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Do you have to use the special types of flours? I never keep anything on hand except all-purpose flour.


    • Jamie — January 10, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      Kristi, using all purpose will work, however, you will not have soft, cakey cookies. All purpose has a higher protein content than cake flour, which means sturdier, chewier cookies.
      – Jamie

  18. Wendy — November 1, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Baked them off this morning – went a tiny bit smaller (3 oz) and got 2 dozen and they are GORGEOUS (look just like your photos too). Only keeping one and getting the rest out of my house!


    • Jamie — November 4, 2013 at 11:04 am


      That’s great to hear! Although, you should keep at least 2 or 3 for yourself :). Have a great day!


  19. Norma Fogelsong — February 1, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    I tried these as an alternative to a turtle cookies with has icing and has the turtle head/feet sticking out,hoping to reduce time. Please, please tell me what I am doing wrong. First I will say that I could not find King Arthur Caramel Bits (did find the flour) and used Kraft’s.

    The cookies were sticking to the parchment, to the spatula so that when I removed everything became a mess. Then after cooled a bit, they stuck to the wax paper. Is the problem the Kraft caramel. I am greatly disappointed as I wish to use this kind of recipe and hopefully this one for my daughter’s wedding in July. Your prompt reply will be appreciated!!!


    • Jamie — February 15, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      Unfortunately, I have never attempting this recipe with Kraft Caramels. I have never had this issue with the KAF Caramel Bits. I am sorry you had this issue.

  20. Jaci — September 7, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Just made these cookies, they’re amazing!! Boyfriend approves :)


    • Jamie — September 7, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      I’m so glad the recipe worked out for you. Thanks for visiting!


  21. Maria — November 19, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    I had to walk away or I would keep eating these cookies! They are delicious. I used the Kraft carmel bits and had no issues. They easily came off the parchment paper. Yummy!


    • Jamie — November 19, 2014 at 9:28 pm

      Yay! I am so glad to hear you enjoyed them – totally addictive, right? Enjoy!

  22. cynthia javier — April 28, 2015 at 1:00 am

    what is the best alternative for the caramel bits? And can i replace the pecans because it is very expensive here in the PHilippines can i use cashew nuts insy=tead> thanks


    • Jamie — April 28, 2015 at 10:55 am

      Cashews will work just fine and you might try cutting up soft caramel candies in place of the caramel bits. I hope this helps.


    • Margie — April 30, 2015 at 2:42 pm

      I used the heath bits from the grocery store. Just great.

  23. Jackie — April 28, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Do you have a gluten free adaptation for this? Just curious, they sound delicious!!!


    • Jamie — April 28, 2015 at 10:53 am

      I haven’t tested these cookies as gluten-free but let me know how they turn out if you try it. Thanks for stopping by.


    • Jackie — May 1, 2015 at 9:31 pm

      I just made baked these today. Two different batches. One with my gluten free all purpose flour I usually use mixed with a gluten free cake flour I mixed together. I than made a homemade blend of GF flour and mixed it with the GF cake flour. They both turned out amazing!!!! Although the completely homemade version I feel is a little bit better. Thanks for the recipe base, I will definitely be using it again!

    • Jamie — May 4, 2015 at 8:37 am

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks for visiting.


  24. Margie — April 30, 2015 at 11:33 am

    These are great. I didn’t expect them to be much different from the regular choc. chip cookies, but they have an extra spark.


    • Jamie — April 30, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      I couldn’t agree more, Margie! So glad to hear you enjoyed them.

  25. Kelsey — August 8, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    Is it a must to chill? What will the chilling do? I really want to make these today so can I not chill? please reply asap!


    • Jamie — August 9, 2015 at 9:06 am

      The chilling will improve the flavor and texture of the cookies; however, I’ve definitely baked them without chilling. They’re good, but not as amazing as when you allow them to chill. Enjoy!

  26. Rebecca — October 20, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Do you need to have the butter come to room temp ?


    • Jamie — January 11, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      Hi, Rebecca! Yes, the butter needs to be at room temperature to mix correctly. Let me know if I can do anything else for you!

  27. Brittany eyre — October 21, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    I made this recipe 2 weeks ago. ..and fell head over heels in love! The flavor is out of this world…and they baked up so beautifully! I made another batch a week later for a work function. …but they didn’t bake the same!….they came out totally different..so I made another batch (yes my fridge was FULL of chilling cookie dough bowls…lol.) but they were yet again unsuccessful! They tasted good…looked absolutely terrible…flat and hard. What could have gone wrong? !… same exact recipe each time, with only a week apart. I LOVED these cookies so much the first time please tell me what happened to the other batches…


    • Jamie — January 13, 2016 at 9:27 am

      Hi, Brittany! I’m so sorry the cookies didn’t turn out the last two times! I suppose several things could have happened: maybe the pan or the dough was too warm? I’m not sure, but I hope you give them a go again! I’m glad they turned out the first time!

  28. Shirley — October 28, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    In Canada we have Skor bits for caramel bits. In the US I have substituted Heath bits in some recipes, but Heath bits are covered in chocolate, so the results are different. Not that anyone has not begged for the recipe whichever bits I used. Allergy alert – caramel bits may contain almonds, so read the label carefully for hidden ingredients if allergies are a concern. Re the cook who asked about the cookies sticking; did she use caramels, which are not as firm as bits? Will try this recipe today – has all my favourite ingredients. Thanks for the recipe.


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