This week my office is doing a little holiday baking for our wonderful loyal customers. There’s something special about receiving a gift of home-baked goodness….so we shall Share the Love. I chose this recipe for Turtle Shortbread Cookies from bettycrocker.com because I have a soft spot for shortbread. For as many years as I can remember there have been Walkers Shortbread Cookies in my Christmas Stocking. I love them. Worship them actually.
When I read over the recipe I thought, ‘good for you Betty Crocker for giving us several troubleshooting notes up front.’ I later discovered there was a reason for that. All of the “If this happens…” happened. So here are my recipe notes. I think you’ll find them helpful.
- Be sure your butter is room temperature before beginning. Have 2 extra Tablespoons waiting at room temp. in case you need them. If the dough is too crumbly work them in one at a time as needed. Mine was.
- Once you mix the dough completely, turn it out onto plastic wrap and form it into a log about 3″ x 18″. Chill this in the fridge for 15 minutes before cutting into 12 equal pieces. Don’t worry about being too exact. It’s kind of nice to have them vary in size.
- Once you have 12 equal pieces, return them to the fridge, then remove them one at a time and roll them into circles and cut into 6 wedges. This will keep the dough from becoming too sticky.
- When the cookies come out of the oven, let them sit for 2-3 minutes (not longer) before removing them to the cooling racks. And then work carefully, they are fragile until they have time to set up and cool completely. We lost 4-5 transferring to the cooling racks (lost sounds rather sad…they’re amazing enjoyed hot from the oven).
- Once you melt the caramel, have some hot water on hand. I added 1 teaspoon to thin it a bit so it would stick to the edges of the cookies. I added additional hot water as it cooled to keep the caramel loose.
- Once I melted the chocolate and shortening I poured it (actually spooned it) into a squeeze bottle which made the drizzling so much easier.
Don’t let all these tips keep you from making these wonderful Turtle Shortbread Cookies. They are delicious and beautiful and just perfect for Sharing the Love. And I’ve heard Santa likes them too!!
- 1½ cups butter, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. salt
- 30 caramels
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 tsp. shortening
- 1½ cups chopped pecans
- 6 dozen pecan halves
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In large bowl, mix butter, sugar, and almond extract. Stir in flour and salt. (If dough is crumbly, mix in 1-2 Tbl. additional softened butter.)
- Turn the dough mixture out onto a piece of plastic wrap and roll into a log, about 3" x 18". Chill for 15 minutes before cutting.
- Divide dough into 12 equal parts. Roll each part into ¼-inch thick circle. (If dough is sticky, chill about 15 minutes. I recommend chilling the 12 parts while working with each circle) Cut each circle into 6 wedges. Place wedges 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Let set 2-3 minutes (not longer), then remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a 1 quart saucepan, heat caramels over medium heat about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until melted.
- Dip 2 straight edges of each cookie into melted caramel, then into chopped pecans. (The caramel will thicken. Have very hot water on hand to add up to 1 tsp. at a time, stirring to combine with caramel until softened.)
- In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips and shortening uncovered on high 1-2 minutes, stirring each 30 seconds, until melted and thin enough to drizzle. If possible, pour melted chocolate into a squeeze bottle for easy drizzling.
- Place a dot of melted chocolate on top of each cookie; place pecan half on chocolate. Drizzle remaining chocolate on tops of cookies.
- Let chocolate and caramel set before transferring to serving plates or storing in air tight containers.
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