Meatless Monday Challenge

Easy Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

on July 28, 2023
last updated January 11, 2024
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These Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies have crunchy pecans, decadent chocolate, and pools of sweet and buttery caramel.
Chewy Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Looking for the ultimate cookie in terms of texture and flavor? These delicious, chewy Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies bring you nutty, chocolatey deliciousness with pools of ooey gooey caramel.

Also known as turtle cookies because of their muse, the classic turtle candy, these cookies have it all! Not only are they out-of-this world scrumptious, but these chocolatey cookies come together in 30 minutes and require just one bowl to make!

Turtle cookies with pools of caramel, crunchy pecans, and chocolate chips

I absolutely love that this recipe requires only one bowl! As a busy mom and environmental scientist, One-Bowl baking is hands down my favorite! Less clean-up means I’m saving on both time and water. Thats a win, win for me!

Green tip: Speaking of cleanup, if you have a dishwasher-use it! Comparing dishwashing to handwashing, using an efficient dishwasher uses 1/6th the amount of water to get your dishes clean!

Pecan Caramel Cookies with Chocolate Chips Ingredients


Here’s everything you need:

  • Unsalted butter. Unsalted allows you to control the amount of salt being added to your cookies. Make sure your butter is softened (not melted!) in order to get the perfect consistency in your dough.
  • Light brown sugar. This cookie recipe uses only brown sugar to give it more of that caramelly flavor that you look for in a classic chocolate chip cookie recipe.
  • Vanilla extract. For a flavor boost.
  • Egg. To bind your cookies together and work with the baking powder to give them a little lift.
  • All-purpose flour. The base of your cookie dough.
  • Salt. To enhance all of the other flavors.
  • Baking soda. To help the cookies rise.
  • Pecans. For a distinct nuttiness and crunch.
  • Chewy Caramels. Make sure you get chewy caramels, not hard candy, caramel creams, or caramel sauce.
  • Chocolate chips. You can use semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips. I used dark!
ingredients for pecan caramel chocolate chip cookies - egg, brown sugar, baking soda, pecans, chocolate chips, vanilla extract, caramels, flour, butter, salt

Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies Tips and Tricks


Set Yourself Up for Success

Start by pre-heating your oven to 375°F and lining your cookie sheet.

Green tip: Consider using reusable baking mats for a more sustainable option!

I also like to measure and prep everything ahead of time so my baking process is seamless. Before starting my cookie dough, I always chop my pecans and slice my caramels.

For the pecans, keep some larger pieces and chop some into tiny fragments. This will ensure you get the nutty taste in every bite, but are left with some bigger crunchy nuts as well.

As for the caramel, you want smaller pieces. It melts in the oven which makes delicious pools of caramel on top but can also make for a messy cookie if the caramel bits on the inside are too large.

Chopping board with prepped chewy caramel and chopped pecans

Cream the Butter and Sugar Together

It’s imperative that your butter is softened—not melted and not too cold and solid.

The easiest way to soften butter is to take it out of the refrigerator about 30-45 minutes before you start making your dough to allow the butter to naturally rise to room temperature.

Of course, if you forget or don’t want to wait, you can expedite the softening process.

One way to do so is by microwaving your stick of butter on high for about 15 seconds. If after that it is still too solid, continue to microwave in 5-second intervals until it’s softened.

The best way to tell if your butter is softened is by poking it! If it’s ready, your finger will leave an imprint.

There are other ways to soften the butter without the microwave. For 5 other simple ways you can easily soften your butter, check out this article on how to soften butter quickly.

Green tip: Look for organic and palm oil-free butter if you can. Buying organic means you are supporting farms that do not use damaging pesticides and fertilizers, and palm oil production is a huge driver behind deforestation.

The key to perfect cookies is creaming your butter and sugar together to start the dough. This is because creaming your sugar into your butter actually aerates the dough.

The sugar cuts into the butter, adding little bubbles that ultimately make for a softer and chewier cookie.

Use a hand mixer on high to whip the softened butter and brown sugar together for 2-3 minutes, until it’s nice and smooth.

Adding light brown sugar to turtle cookie dough

Add the Wet Ingredients Next

With one-bowl baking recipes, the order in which you add your ingredients makes a difference to the consistency of your dough and overall success of your cookies.

After creaming your butter and sugar together, add the vanilla extract and egg.

Green tip: Look for pasture-raised eggs (over free-range or cage-free) to support agriculture that is less reliant on chemicals and fossil fuels.

As always, here’s your little reminder that best practice for baking is to crack your egg in a separate dish rather than adding it directly to your dough.

This will give you a chance to extract any eggshells that may fall into your dough and means you can salvage your dough in the off chance you have a bloody egg.

Of course, if you’re like me and like to live your life on the wild side, then you can take a chance and crack it directly in your bowl. Do so at your own risk. 😉

Once you add your egg, use your hand mixer on low, mixing just enough to integrate the egg. It’s best not to over-beat the dough.

Cracking an egg into pecan caramel chocolate chip cookie dough

Add Your Dry Ingredients to Your Cookie Dough Last

Next up: your dry ingredients! Add your flour, salt, and baking soda. Grab that hand mixer again to combine the dry ingredients into your dough, making sure no lumps or clumps are left behind.

If any dry ingredients stick to the inside of the bowl, use a rubber spatula to push it down into the dough, ensuring everything is integrated.

Adding flour to chocolate chip cookie dough with pecans and caramel

Fold in Your Pecans, Caramels, and Chocolate Chips

Once your dry ingredients are integrated, all that’s left to do is add your pecans, caramels and chocolate chips!

I like to conserve just a handful of each to place on top of the cookie dough once it’s already shaped. Especially the caramel. Placing a caramel on top will give you a delicious pool of caramel right in the center of your cookie.

Pour the rest of your fillings into the dough and use a rubber spatula to fold them in, until they are evenly distributed throughout.

Cookie dough with chewy caramels, chocolate chips, and chopped pecans

How to Perfectly Bake Your Caramel Pecan Chocolate Cookies

These caramel pecan cookies are pretty much foolproof and will hold their shape even without any chilling time. You can expect some spreading, so keep that in mind as you line up your cookies on your prepped baking sheet.

There is one more important tactic to getting the best texture on these cookies: always bake them on the top rack!

Heat rises, so the top rack of your oven can be significantly hotter than the bottom. If you place one cookie sheet on the top rack and one on the bottom, there will definitely be a noticeable difference in their baking time.

If both sheets don’t fit on the top rack at once, I highly recommend baking the cookies in two separate rounds, so they can all bake on the top rack.

These cookies with caramel, pecans, and chocolate chips will bake beautifully in just 8-10 minutes at 375°F.

When the cookies are ready, the top and edges will start to turn golden brown and will be a little bit crispy to touch. It’s okay if the center is slightly underdone, as they will continue to bake as they cool.

If any caramel spills out over the edges, use the curved part of a spoon to push the ooey gooey caramel back into the side of the cookies while they are still hot.

Cookie dough with caramel and pecans and chocolate chips shaped and lined up on a baking sheet

How to Properly Store Turtle Cookies

At room temperature, these chocolatey cookies will last for 5-7 days when covered. In an airtight container in the refrigerator, they can last up to three weeks.

Quick tip: Storing your cookies with a piece of bread will keep them softer and chewier. This is the perfect use for the end piece!

These cookies do tend to get firm within the first couple days of storing them. If you want to keep them softer and chewier, store them in a container with a piece of bread. Believe it or not, moisture from the bread keeps the cookies from drying out.

You can also freeze them once they’re baked for up to a year. More on that later.

Green tip: Of the billions of tons of food wasted annually, 50% of food waste happens at home. Reduce your contribution to food waste by properly storing baked goods!

How to Freeze Cookie Dough for Freshly Baked Cookies Later

You can opt to freeze some or all of the dough for your turtle cookies for up to a year. That way, you can have freshly baked cookies whenever you want!

I like to shape the cookie dough into cookie dough balls and store them in a freezer safe storage bag (consider reusable storage bags for a more sustainable option!).

Just watch them closely when you bake them and add an extra minute or two to your baking time if need be.

Overhead image of cookies with pecans, caramel, and chocolate chips

Caramel Pecan Chocolate Cookies Frequently Asked Questions


What is turtle candy?

Turtle candies are clusters of toasted pecans held together by gooey melted caramel, and then smothered in melted chocolate. These Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies are inspired by turtle candies and bring those three delicious flavors together in cookie form.

Why add baking soda to chocolate chip cookies?

During the baking process, baking soda releases carbon dioxide which helps to lift the cookies from the inside out, ultimately helping those cookies rise for a soft and chewy cookie.

Why You Should Make these Pecan Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • The flavor combo! If you’ve never tried a turtle candy, you are in for a treat! The combination of pecans, caramels, and chocolate chips simply can’t be beat!
  • They’re quick. This dough requires no chilling time which means the cookies come together in less than 30 minutes from start to finidh!
  • They are easy! Only one bowl required to whip these babies up!

If you’re loving these Easy Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies and want more jam-packed cookies, check out these Cookie Monster Cookies and Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Chewy Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Easy Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

5 from 4 votes
Marley Goldin
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These turtle-candy-inspired cookies bring a trifecta of flavor with crunchy pecans, decadent chocolate, and pools of sweet and buttery caramel.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 12 cookies

Ingredients
 
 

  • ½ cup softened unsalted butter (½ cup butter = 1 stick)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup pecans (½ cup pecans = approx. 2 ounces)
  • ¼ cup chewy caramels (¼ cup caramel = approx. 2 ounces)
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips (dark or semi-sweet)
Shop Ingredients on Jupiter

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a reusable baking mat. Chop the pecans and caramels into small chunks.
    Chopped pecans and sliced chewy caramels on a cutting board
  • To a large mixing bowl, add softened butter and brown sugar. Use a hand mixer on high to cream together until light and smooth (about 2-3 minutes).
    Light brown sugar creamed with softened unsalted butter
  • Add the egg and vanilla extract and use your hand mixer on low to combine.
    Brown sugar-based cookie dough before adding dry ingredients
  • Add the flour, salt, and baking soda and mix to combine, careful not to overbeat. Use a spatula to scrape any flour off the sides of the bowl and integrate it into your dough.
    Turtle cookie dough before adding fillings
  • Add the pecans, caramels, and chocolate chips to your dough and use a rubber spatula to fold to combine. I like to keep a small handful of each out to place on top of the cookie dough once it's formed into cookies.
    Using a rubber spatula to fold in pecans, caramel, and chocolate chips into cookie dough
  • Use a large cookie scoop or 2 heaping tablespoons of dough to form your cookies, adding them to the prepped baking sheets. Leave at least an inch of space in between each cookie for minor spreading.
    Lined baking sheet with shaped turtle cookie dough
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes on the top rack. It's okay if they are slightly underdone. Allow them to cool on the baking sheet so they continue to bake as they cool. If any caramel spills out the sides, use the curved part of a spoon to push the melted caramel back into the edge of the cookies while they are still hot. Enjoy!

Pro Tips

  • Make sure to use plain chewy caramels instead of caramel sauce, caramel hard candies, or cream-filled caramels. If you’re having trouble finding them for baking, you can use individually wrapped chewy caramels (usually the Werther’s brand is widely available in the candy aisle).
  • You can freeze excess cookie dough before baking it to give you fresh baked cookies every time when the craving hits! Just bake them as normal straight out of the freezer.
  • Cookie monsters are always happy at my house with this delicious selection of my best cookie recipes to choose from! Nom nom nom!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Diet Vegetarian
Keyword 30 Minutes or Less, Caramel Sauce, Chocolate Chip Cookies, One-Bowl, Pecan Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies, Pecans
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