Turtle Cookies

Ingredients
Cookie:
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

Caramel Filling:
14 soft caramel candies (I used Kraft Traditional Caramels)
3 T. heavy cream

Chocolate Drizzle (optional):
2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (I used 2 squares of Baker's Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate Squares)
1 tsp. shortening


Directions
Prepare the Cookies:  
1.  Combine flour, cocoa, and salt; set aside.

2.  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.

3.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.

4.  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.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees until set, about 12 minutes.


Prepare the Caramel Filling:  
6.  Microwave caramels and cream together in a small bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes.

7.  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):  
8.  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.

9.  Snip a very small hole in the corner of the plastic bag.  Drizzle chocolate over the cooled Turtle Cookies.

Makes about 30 cookies.

Enjoy! 


Source:  The Kitchen is My Playground
www.thekitchenismyplayground.com