Chocolate Turtle Cookies
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
8 T. (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 c. sugar
1 large egg, separated, plus 1 additional egg white
2 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. pecans, finely chopped
14 soft caramel candies
3 T. heavy cream
Chocolate Drizzle (optional):
2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1 tsp. shortening
Prepare the Cookies:
Combine flour, cocoa, and salt; set aside.
With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla; mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until just combined.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
Whisk egg whites in a bowl until frothy. Place chopped pecans in another bowl. Roll chilled dough into 1-inch balls, dip in egg whites, and then roll in pecans. Place balls about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Using a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, make an indentation in the center of each dough ball.
Bake at 350 degrees until set, about 12 minutes.
Prepare the Caramel Filling:
Microwave caramels and cream together in a small bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Once cookies are removed from the oven, gently re-press the indentations. Fill each indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon of the caramel mixture. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Prepare the Chocolate Drizzle (optional):
Place chocolate and shortening in a small zip-top plastic bag. Set bag in a bowl of warm water to soften. Gently knead the chocolate with your fingers until melted and smooth, placing back in the warm water for a minute or two as needed.
Snip a very small hole in the corner of the plastic bag. Drizzle chocolate over the cooled Turtle Cookies.
Makes about 30 cookies.