Two Turtle Loves

By: The Local Palate
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“I have always had a fondness for classic flavor combinations that evoke a sense of familiarity. Growing up in New Orleans, I was always buying a handful of the famous turtle candies from McKenzie’s Bakery after a swim meet. And most recently, I was reunited with shortbread because of my travels to London, where this traditional confection was everywhere. I began baking the cookies to celebrate my fandom of the show Ted Lasso,” explains baker David Guas of Arlington, Virginia. “For my new holiday, I was excited to blend the sweetness of caramel and the buttery richness of shortbread. The caramel pecan shortbread cookie adds a sort of decadence with each bite—flavors in true harmony. To me, that defines LOVE!”

Before baking the caramel turtle cookies, Guas recommends to toast all the pecans for the recipe in advance at 325 degrees for 12 minutes in the oven. Make sure to cool completely and then transfer to a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag. Slightly crush the pecans small pieces with a rolling pin and set aside.

recipe heading-plus-icon


Makes 24 cookies

    For the cookies:
  • ⅔ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup toasted pecan pieces, room temperature
  • Cooking spray for baking
  • For the turtle coating:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup light corn syrup
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups toasted pecan pieces, room temperature
  • 1 cup semisweet bakers chocolate (preferably 58-61 percent cacao)

  • Special equipment: Candy thermometer

Make the cookies:

  1. In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine sugar, vanilla, butter, and cream on medium speed until fluffy and pale yellow. Sift flour and salt into butter mixture. Combine with mixer on low speed. Just before mixture is fully combined (it should look crumbly), stir in pecans. Continue mixing until dough just comes together. Wrap dough in parchment paper to make it workable. Roll into 12-to-14-inch log. Set aside.
  2. Line Pyrex baking dish with 12-to-16-inch piece of parchment paper, long enough to fit bottom of dish and hang over opposite sides, creating parchment handles that will help remove cookies from pan. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Dampen hands and press raw cookie dough evenly across parchment paper, filling entire pan. Prick dough all over with fork. Refrigerate or freeze for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake cookies until golden brown, about 8-12 minutes. Once cooled, place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Make the turtle coating:

  1. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine cream, corn syrup, sugars, and butter. Stir often, using heatproof spatula to scrape down sides of pan, until butter melts and sugars dissolve. Increase heat to medium. Bring mixture to a simmer, cooking for 12-15 minutes, until candy thermometer reads 244 degrees. Be careful not to overheat mixture. Let caramel mixture come to 246 degrees before removing from heat and stirring in vanilla, salt, and toasted pecans. Pour mixture onto cooled shortbread cookies. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  2. Prepare a double boiler by filling a small saucepot with 1 inch water. Bring to a simmer. Place a heatproof medium bowl over pot, add baking chocolate. Reduce heat to low. Melt chocolate, stirring often, until completely smooth. Pour chocolate into Pyrex bowl and set aside until cool but soft enough to dip turtle cookie into.
  3. Release cookies by running paring knife along edges of baking dish and pulling out parchment paper handles. Move to cutting board, slice into 1½-inch squares. Arrange cookies on long sheet of parchment paper. Drizzle with chocolate or dip each square halfway into chocolate. Return to work surface. Let chocolate harden, about 1 hour. Store cookies in airtight container in refrigerator.
  • Recipe By
    From David Guas of Bayou Bakery in Arlington, Virginia

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