These Turtle Cookie Cups transform a candy confection into a delicious dessert! Chocolate cookie cups filled with homemade caramel, pecans, and caramel whipped cream.
It’s been forever and a day since I’ve posted a new cookie cup recipe. Almost TWO years, in fact. Craziness. Most of you probably don’t even realize that I have recipes other than cakes on here, but I do! Not a lot, but I do. And cookie cups are one of my favourite easy desserts to make – especially for the holidays!
These Turtle Cookie Cups that I bring you today have gotten rave reviews from my taste testers, and are truly a new favourite over here.
What Are Turtles?
Turtles are a chocolate candy confection consisting of caramel and pecans enrobed in chocolate. The name comes from the fact that their shape resembles a turtle.
They’re available year round, but to me they are synonymous with the holiday season.
My version of Turtles as cookie cups consists of a chocolate cookie base, homemade caramel, pecans, and caramel whipped cream.
Chocolate Cookie Cups
I’ve made versions of these cookie cups before — it’s basically a chocolate cookie recipe made into a cup. I use a large (3Tbsp) cookie scoop to portion the dough into two regular cupcake tins. I find that dark colored pans work better for the cookie cups. It’s a personal preference though, any kind of cupcake/muffin pan will work (including minis).
I bake the cookie cups anywhere from 13-15 mins, but this can depend on the oven and how many pans you have in there (or if you use a mega pan). You want the centers to be mostly set.
Once ready, take the cookie cups out of the oven and use something to press down into them to form the cup. I use the lid from my Pam for Baking as it’s the perfect size, but you could also use a tart tamper or a small spice jar.
If the cookies are too gooey at this time — raw batter shooting out the sides — pop them back in the oven for a minute or two and repeat.
I often do a couple passes on pressing down. I do one round that’s fairly gentle, then another round where I press down a bit more firmly on the cups once they start to cool. I try not to cool them in the pans too long, as they will start to stick.
Getting them out can be tricky, so just do your best and use something to nudge them out if needed. I recommend using whatever tool you used to make the cup to nudge them out. Press down, twist, and lift. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
I’ve talked extensively about how to make caramel over in my Caramel Cake post, so have a read through that to learn what can go wrong and how to avoid it. Spoiler: it’s actually really easy, but you need to make sure your cream and butter are completely at room temp, and that you don’t boil the caramel too vigorously once they are added in.
I love my homemade caramel recipe, but you could totally use a store-bought caramel sauce instead if you want to make your life easier.
The caramel can be left at room temp for a couple of days, or refrigerated for a week or two. You can also freeze it.
You will have some caramel left over. It can be used as a topping for ice cream, chocolate tarts, or a variety of other desserts!
Caramel Whipped Cream
The key thing I always recommend to get good volume from your whipped cream is to make sure everything is cold — your cream, your metal bowl, and your metal whisk. This is just for best results.
For the caramel whipped cream, I whipped the cold cream until soft peaks, then added about 1/2 a cup of cooled caramel to it. You can add more or less to taste.
Whipped cream does not keep very well, so be sure to use it (and any leftovers) within 2-3 days. I did freeze some of the filled cookie cups, and the whipped cream was totally fine once thawed.
Assembling These Turtle Cookie Cups
Assembling these is super simple, and you can customize it any way you like. I added a bit of caramel into the bottom of each cookie cup, then placed a pecan on top of it and piped the caramel whipped cream over that.
You could skip the caramel on the bottom of the cup, but I love the flavour and gooeyness it adds. You could use chopped pecans instead of a whole pecan as well.
I tried a variety of options for decorating these. In one case I striped my piping bag with actual caramel so that it would swirl with the whipped cream when piped. This looked very cool, but maybe a bit busy, and I wanted to do the caramel drizzle so I thought it would be a bit much.
My favourite variation is what you see here: a Turtles Bite and a pecan on top, drizzled with caramel.
I actually didn’t even know Turtles Bites existed until last week. I had bought a (rather large) pack of full-sized Turtles at Costco, which I intended to use as props for the photos.
I then decided I wanted to get some Turtles Minis for the top of the cookie cups, and as I was buying those I noticed Turtles Bites on an end cap in the store. Totally fortuitous, as they are the perfect size for the cookie cups. I obviously bought the Minis too, and now have WAY too many Turtles in my house.
If you are a Turtles fan, you will love these Turtle Cookie Cups! They are the perfect combination of flavours, together in an easy-to-make dessert.
Looking for more Cookie Cup Recipes?
- S’mores Cookie Cups
- Apple Crisp Cookie Cups
- Eggnog Cheesecake Cookie Cups
- Oreo Cheesecake Cookie Cups
- Baileys Cheesecake Cookie Cups
Tips for making these Turtle Cookie Cups
- You can make these as mini cookie cups instead, using a mini cupcake pan. You just need to reduce the baking time — start checking at 7-8 mins or so.
- If the cookie cups are too gooey when you try to press down onto them, pop them back in the oven for a couple minutes.
- Don’t let the baked cookie cups sit in the pan for too long, as they’ll start to stick. I try to transfer them about 5mins into cooling — this can be tricky if they are very soft. I find that twisting them to take them out works well. Sometimes I wait another 5 mins.
- The caramel can be made the day before and left on the counter overnight. Refrigerate or freeze unused portions.
- You will have some caramel left over. It can be used as a topping for ice cream, chocolate tarts, or a variety of other desserts!
- For the do’s and don’ts of making the caramel, see this post.
- You can use a store-bought caramel sauce instead if you want to make your life easier.
- Ensure your heavy cream is cold (ideally the mixer bowl too), as this will help give the whipped cream more volume.
- The cookies will soften a bit the longer they sit with the filling.
- Store in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer (in an airtight container) for 1-2 months.
- Best served cold, but can be served at room temperature. Eat within 2-3 days.
- If you like these, check out some of my other other cookie cup recipes!
Turtle Cookie Cups
Homemade Caramel (make in advance):
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 225 ml heavy cream room temperature
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
Chocolate Cookie Cups:
Caramel Whipped Cream Filling:
- 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream chilled
- 1/2 cup caramel
Homemade Caramel (make in advance):
- Place sugar and water into a medium pot, stir to combine, but to not stir from this point forward. Cook over high heat, washing down the sides of the pot with a pastry brush dipped in water as needed to prevent crystals.
- Cook until desired color of caramel is reached (amber) and immediately remove from heat. Very slowly pour in (room temperature) heavy cream while whisking quickly. The mixture will bubble up (a lot) and boil. Add (room temperature) butter, return to heat, and bring back to a boil. Simmer on low for 2 minutes whisking constantly.
- Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature (about 2 hours). Transfer to a container.*
Chocolate Cookie Cups:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two regular sized cupcake tins with cooking spray.
- Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Beat butter and sugars on med-high until light and fluffy (approx. 2-3mins). Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time and vanilla. Beat until combined. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.
- Using a large cookie scoop (3 Tbsp) scoop dough into muffin tins.
- Bake for approx. 13-15mins or until mostly set, but still soft in the middle.
- Remove from oven and immediately use a small jar or container to press firmly down in the center to create a well.**
- Cool in pans for 5mins, loosen each slightly by twisting it in the pan. Cool for 5 more minutes then remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
Caramel Whipped Cream Filling:
- Whip heavy cream until soft peaks (ideally with a cold whisk and in a cold bowl). Add cooled caramel and whip until stiff peaks. Place whipped cream into a large piping bag fitted with a round piping tip.
- Add 1-2 tsp caramel into the bottom of each cookie cup. Place a pecan in the bottom. Chill for 10mins to set caramel. Pipe caramel whipped cream on top. Place a Turtles Bite and a pecan on top, drizzle with more caramel and sprinkle with fine chopped pecans if desired.
- Store in fridge for up to 3 days or in freezer (in an airtight container) for 1-2 months. Best served cold, but can be served at room temperature. Eat within 2-3 days.
** If the cookie cups are too gooey when you try to press down onto them, pop them back in the oven for a couple minutes.