I know what you’re thinking… She’s gone rogue for the holidays. This cookie sounds far too decadent. I’ll tell you all what am thinking: fooled ya! Because behind all the conspicuous chocolate consumption (which is dairy-free, by the way) are wholesome ingredients like coconut sugar, coconut oil, raw cacao powder, honey roasted pecans, pasture-raised eggs & your choice of almond flour or all purpose gluten-free flour. Yep, am all about testing a recipe now with two different, viable flours. I read every single email & comment and am well aware a lot of you have trouble finding almond flour and I don’t want that to keep you from enjoying my recipes. So here ya go.
December is here and I’m a well-oiled, fast-talking, increasingly giddy, cookie-making machine. No one in my house seems to mind the baker in me coming out in full-force. After all, nothing says Christmas like a box of fresh homemade cookies. This was a particularly fun week because a group of really talented Canadian bloggers I look up to invited me to participate in a cookie party exchange in/around Toronto. I was thrilled to receive a delicious parcel of buckwheat double chocolate & candy cane crunch cookies, which are now pretty non-existent. And here’s my contribution to the party: these “Turtle Cookies” were in the parcel I sent a very dear blogger friend.
I must tell ya, three dozen cookies were baked before the final dozen made it’s way into a parchment paper lined-box, wrapped with some rustic jute ribbon and a holiday card. The first batch was made of almond flour, and I, of course had to taste-test. So did the kids. Between the three of us, we polished them off before my husband even got home. I won’t get into what happened to the other batches. But yep, it’s been a fruitful week.
These cookies bring me right back to my 20 year-old self a decade ago. In case you haven’t cued in, they’re named after my favorite chocolate. Turtles were “student therapy” back then. Midterms, final exams, breakups, long days at the library (where I worked AND studied) and a box of turtles was always with me or in my knapsack. Always. I had a love/hate relationship with these chocolates. I loved them because they tasted great (obviously), as simple as that. I hated them, because I always ate them for the wrong reasons. And also because after eating 1/2 box, I always felt terrible about myself. But the habit lingered. I can now tell you I haven’t touched one in close to 4 years. But, I now have these cookies to fall on! Old Turtles, WHO?
My hope is that when you bake these, you double up on the recipe. Give one batch to someone you care about and keep the other batch. Remember that it’s not about how much we give, but rather, how much thought we put into giving. It will make someone’s week. So pay it forward, with cookies. 😉
- 1 + 1/2 cups your choice of almond flour or all-purpose gluten free flour
- 1 cup of coconut sugar (or raw brown sugar)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp of sea salt
- 1/2 cup raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
- 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil (or melted grass-fed butter)
- 1.5 cups of dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips, I use “Enjoy Life” (I melt half & fold the other half in at the end)
- 1 cup of chopped honey roasted pecans or regular pecans (I have a great recipe on the blog, see chocolate and caramelized pecan cups)
- 1/2 tbsp of pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
To make them more like “Turtles” and if you don’t have any sensitivities to dairy or sugar, I highly recommend:
- 1/2 cup of butterscotch chips
- 1/2 cup chopped caramels
I just rely on honey caramelized pecans as “nature’s caramel”. They roast twice, once to coat them in honey and then again when mixed in with the cookies. Out of all the nuts out there, pecans are the ones that most closely resemble that caramel-like taste we want to achieve.
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper & get your cookie cooling rack ready
- Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl: almond flour or GF all-purpose flour, raw cacao, coconut sugar, baking soda, & sea salt.
- Combine all wet ingredients in another bowl: coconut oil, cooled down melted chocolate chips & the splash of vanilla. Eggs get in whisked last.
- Integrate wet mixture into the dry ingredient bowl, whisking as you go.
- Fold in the remaining chocolate chips & 1/2 the honey pecans. If you’re using butterscotch chips, fold them in, too. I say only do 1/2 the pecans so you can sprinkle the other half on top of the cookies once they’re shaped.
- The dough should not be overly runny. It should feel like play-doh. Shape into dough balls.
- Press down on each dough ball to flaten* & sprinkle the remaining chopped pecans generously on top of each cookie.
- Bake for about 8-10 minutes, all ovens vary. For some, it make take up to 12 mins. They may look soft when they come out, but they firm up as they cool on the rack. Over-baking results in dry cookies or burnt bottom surfaces.
Tips & Tricks
*For perfectly-shaped cookies, grab the bottom of a glass & dust it with cocoa powder. Use it to gently press down on each ball of dough you shaped until each cookie is the diameter of the bottom of the glass. This easy trick makes for evenly-shaped treats. The cocoa powder at the bottom of the glass keeps the dough from sticking as they’re being flattened.