Makes about 30 cookies
Source: Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder (I used dark cocoa powder)
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 c. sugar
1 large egg, separated, plus 1 additional egg white (throw out 1 yolk)
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. pecans, finely chopped
14 soft caramel candies (I used Kraft)
3 Tbsp. heavy cream
Chocolate Drizzle (optional):
2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (I used hot fudge)
1 tsp. shortening
Cookie: Combine flour, cocoa, and salt; set aside. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add 1 egg yolk, milk, and vanilla; mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until just combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap or set in fridge in the bowl and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
Whisk egg whites in a bowl until frothy. Place chopped pecans in another bowl. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, dip 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.
Caramel Filling: 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. If you don’t have the patience to use homemade caramel, you can use a ROLO candy in the center of each.
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. Or you can just use hot fudge.