Turtle Tassies – 365 Days of Baking

A fan-favorite cookie featuring chocolate, pecans, and caramel, these Turtle Tassies are the perfect bite-size treat for your next holiday party or family gathering! If you don’t know what a “tassie” is, you’re not alone! Tassies are like a sugar cookie cup, made in mini muffin cups instead of baked on a cookie sheet, then topped or filled with a variety of delectable goodies. These Turtle Tassies are so easy to make and fun to eat!

A bite taken out of a chocolate cookie cup filled with dark chocolate, caramel, and pecans.

This chocolate cookie recipe with caramel and pecans is Day 3 of our 12 Days of Cookies! Happy Baking!

Be sure to check out all of the other days for more amazing cookies!

Day 1 – Copycat Crumb Reese’s Peanut Butter Cookies
Day 2 – Linzer Cookies
Day 3 – Chocolate Dipped Orange Cookies
Day 4 You’re on it!
Day 5 – 11/29/22
Day 6 – 11/30/22
Day 7 – 12/1/22
Day 8 – 12/2/22
Day 9 – 12/3/22
Day 10 – 12/4/22
Day 11 – 12/5/22
Day 12 – 12/6/22

This chocolate cookie cup recipe has most definitely been a labor of love. I worked, reworked and worked this recipe for a total of 4 times before I felt I’d nailed it. It was arduous, but I really think you’ll love these once you make them.
The chocolate cookie, the dark chocolate bottom, chewy caramel and crunchy pecans make this recipe a keeper and one that will be enjoyed all year long.
Santa will LOVE them!

Turtle Tassies

Why are these treats called “Turtle” tassies?

Turtle candies originated in the early 1900s when someone noticed that the treat made from pecan halves coated in caramel and enveloped in chocolate looked just like a turtle shell! The name stuck, and now “turtle” has become synonymous with the flavors of pecan, turtle, and chocolate.

Process for making Turtle Tassies

What do I need to make these turtle pecan tassies?

Gather the following ingredients before you start baking:

  • 1 cup butter, unsalted
  • White sugar
  • Light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Cocoa powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Dark chocolate chips
  • 22 oz. unwrapped caramels
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
  • Heavy cream
Chocolate cookie cups

How to make Turtle Tassie cookie cups

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F., then prepare a mini muffin tin by spraying it lightly with cooking spray. Use a paper towel to spread the spray around the sides of each tin. Unwrap all the caramels and put them in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars for about three minutes until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and mix well. Then add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating fully after each one.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add them to the creamed butter mixture in two batches until just combined. Be sure to scrape the sides and especially the bottom of the mixing bowl since some of the dry ingredients will settle there.

Use slightly less than 1 1/2 tablespoons cookie dough to shape dough into balls and place each one in the bottom of a mini muffin cup. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and using the end of a wooden spoon, gently press into the bottoms and sides of the cookie cups to flatten and create an opening, taking care not to make holes in the dough. The dough will be somewhat wet and underdone, but shouldn’t stick too much to the spoon handle. If it does, return to oven to bake for an additional minute or two before using the spoon again.

Return the muffin tin to the oven and bake a final round for an additional three to five minutes. Once out of the oven, but the dough should look a tad moist, but not completely done. Use the spoon to create a deeper opening in each of the cups, if necessary without puncturing the bottoms.

While the cookies are in the oven, melt the caramels and heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently until the caramels are smooth and melted. Turn the heat down to low to keep the caramel dip warm.

Remove cookies from the oven and place 4 chocolate chips into each cup. Drizzle about two to three teaspoons of caramel on the top of each cup, then place ¼ teaspoon of chopped pecans on top. Allow the cookies to cool completely in the pan. Gently remove the sugar cookie cups from the pan, then place them on a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate Turtle Cookies

Recipe Notes:

  • I found it is easiest to assemble the cookies right at the stove. This way the warm caramel stays soft near the heat and is easy to drop onto the cookies. You may also put the saucepan of caramel sauce into a medium skillet with about an inch of boiling water. This will help keep the caramel soft enough to work.
  • I found it easiest to put the chocolate chips into each cookie first, put the caramel into half of the cups and then top those with the pecans. Then I finished the rest of the tray.
  • Place the pecan pieces onto the caramel immediately; if you wait too long, the caramel will harden the pecans won’t stick.
Caramel, pecans, and chocolate cookie cups.

Can I make Turtle Tassies ahead of time?

Turtle Tassies have a dough that freezes really well. You can make the dough ahead of time and freeze it for up to 3 months. Make sure to wrap the dough in multiple layers (parchment paper, aluminum foil, freezer bags, etc) or in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn and to keep it as fresh as possible.

How to store leftover cookies

These cookies are best stored at room temperature in an airtight container. You can enjoy them for up to 3-4 days.

You can also freeze the baked cookies for up to 3 months. Use plastic wrap and freezer bags or an airtight container to keep them as fresh as possible.

Pecans on caramel in a cookie cup.

Our favorite Turtle Treats

If you love “turtle” desserts, you’ll love our Easy Turtle No-Bake Dream Bars. These delicious Rolo Pretzel Turtles are a popular candy during the holiday season. Or, try these fluffy Turtle Parfaits!

More Pecan Recipes

If you love pecans, try some of our favorite pecan recipes!

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A bite taken out of a chocolate cookie cup filled with dark chocolate, caramel, and pecans.

Be sure to check out the rest of our delicious cookies in our 12 Days of Cookies Series!

Turtle Tassies

Created by: Lynne Feifer

Turtle Tassies

A fan-favorite cookie featuring chocolate, pecans, and caramel, these Turtle Tassies are the perfect bite-size treat for your next holiday party or family gathering!

Prevent your screen from going dark

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F, and prepare a mini muffin tin by spraying it with cooking spray. Use a paper towel to wipe the sides of the muffin cups. Unwrap all of the caramels and put them into a bowl.

  • In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix well.

  • Add the eggs, one at a time incorporating fully after each one.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter in two batches until just combined.

  • Using about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough, roll into balls and place each into a mini muffin cup. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Remove pan from oven and using the rounded end of a wooden spoon, gently press into the bottoms and sides of the cookie cups to flatten and create an opening. Take care not to make holes in the dough. The dough will be slightly wet and may stick to the end of the spoon, but shouldn’t be too underdone. If it is, return to upstairs for another minute or two.

  • After putting holes in all of the cookie cups, return to oven and bake for an additional 2-5 minutes. Upon removal, the bottom of the cups should appear moist, but not completely dry.

Filling

  • While the cookies are in the oven, melt the caramels and heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring very frequently until completely smooth and melted. Turn heat down to low.

  • I found it easiest to assemble right at the oven, keeping the caramel warm on the stove. When the cookies are finally removed from the oven, place 4 chocolate chips into each cup. Cover with about two – three teaspoons of caramel. I used a tablespoon, but only put about two teaspoons into each cup.

  • Place ¼ teaspoon of chopped pecans on top. After the cookies have cooled, gently remove them from the pan and place on a wire cooling rack.

Notes

Please read the post for more tips on making them and assembling.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookies | Calories: 193kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 2g | Dish: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 94mg | Potassium: 103mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 170IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 1mg

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