Confession time! I don’t really have a big sweet tooth. I know, I know! But I love baking, experimenting, and feeding people. However, I do LOVE anything with caramel, toffee, or butterscotch. Maybe I just like butter!
Anyway, I knew I had to make a caramel something cookie. I played around with combining a bunch of different ingredients, baked dozens of cookies, and these were the obvious winner. They’re just so so so good! They have ground pecans (toast them first, if you’re feeling fancy), toffee bits, chocolate, caramel extract, and are melty-in-your-mouth scrumpdiddlyumptious!
This recipe can be used for roll-and-cut decorated cookies, or slice-and-bake cookies. I dipped my slice-and-bake cookies in melted caramel candies, then in chocolate, and then topped with pecan pieces. And they were RI-DI-CU-LOUS!
I measured the toffee bits, chocolate chips and pecans before grinding them in a food processor. You want to grind each ingredient individually. If you try to grind them in your food processor together, the oil from the nuts will make everything clump together.
Always chop by hand or grind add-ins (chocolate chips, candy, nuts, cookies, or dried fruit) in a food processor to the consistency of coarse sand. Large add-ins will leave you with jagged edges when you cut out your cookies.
If you don’t have a food processor, you can chop your nuts and chocolate chips by hand using a large butcher knife, and patience. Yes, what takes you 30 seconds in a food processor will take 5 minutes to do by hand, but it is possible. And you can crush your toffee bits using a rolling pin. Just place your toffee in a large freezer bag, and roll over them with your rolling pin until they’ve been broken down to the correct consistency.
Are these technically shortbread or sugar cookies?
They’re kind of both. It’s fine to call these either “decorated sugar cookies” or “decorated shortbread cookies.” But I’m going to refer to any of my cookie recipes that can used as a base for cookie decorating as “shortbread sugar cookies.”
- 2 parts flour to 1 part fat
- No eggs
- No leavening agent
- Dense and crispy
- 3 parts flour to 2 parts fat
- Contains eggs
- Contains a leavening agent
- Light and Chewy
All of my shortbread sugar cookie recipes don’t rise or spread, can be used for cookie decorating, have egg, but no leavening agent, and have a 2 ¼ parts flour to 1 part fat. Which makes them fall somewhere between a shortbread and a sugar cookie. They’re both shortbread and sugar cookies, and neither shortbread or sugar cookies, at the same time. They’re Shrodinger’s cookies!
All of my shortbread sugar cookie recipes can be used for slice-and-bake cookies as well!
If you would like more info on my preferred ingredient brands, tips and tricks, FAQs, and a little cookie science, I cover all of that in my No-Spread Lemon Shortbread Sugar Cookie Recipe.
Pecan Turtle Shortbread Sugar Cookies
- measuring cups and spoons
- mixing bowls
- cling wrap
- cookie cutters
- large knife
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 tablespoon caramel extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup toffee bits ground
- 1/2 cup pecans ground
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips ground
- 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Measure out pecans, chocolate chips, and toffee before grinding/chopping.
- Grind pecans, chocolate chips and toffee bits in food processor, one ingredient at a time (NOT TOGETHER), until the texture of coarse sand.
- Whisk dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, pecans, chocolate chips, toffee, and salt) together and set aside.
- Cream butter and sugars with paddle attachment, on medium-low speed, until fluffy and pale in color (about 5 minutes).
- Add egg and extracts and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the paddle with a spatula, and then continue to mix on low speed for another 30 seconds to ensure everything is fully incorporated.
- Add dry ingredients, all at once, and mix on low speed just until dough starts to come together and no dry bits remain. Do not overmix.
- Turn dough out onto cling wrap, tightly wrap, and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 4 hours).
- Knead, roll, cut out cookies, and return to fridge or freezer until firm. Leave a couple inches between cookies.
- Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes, rotate pan, and bake for another 1-5 minutes until edges are starting to turn golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to fully cool on cookie sheet before handling.
- Make sure all ingredients are room temperature.
- The reason for adding 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch to your dough is to prevent your cookies from shrinking or spreading during baking.
- You want to grind all add-ins (chocolate, pecans, and toffee bits) as fine as possible, comparable to the texture of almond meal or coarse sand. Larger pieces will leave you with jagged cookie edges.
- If making slice-and-bake cookies, split dough in half, roll into logs, wrap tightly in cling wrap or parchment paper, and refrigerate before slicing and baking.