Turtle cookie bars have become an obsession in our house lately. I made this batch on a whim one day because I wanted something different, and in one week’s time I had made 4 batches of them. I’ve never made anything that my family raved over quite as much. Of course, some of them were taken to family holiday dinners, etc., but still – they were wiped out within hours of making a fresh batch. The recipe is pretty basic, but oh so good. Want to try them?
Turtle Cookie Bars Recipe
- 1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 box (3.4 oz.) of JELL-O Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups of finely chopped pecans
- 21-24 caramels
- cooking spray
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a mixer, beat together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add in the egg, vanilla and pudding mix, then mix together until incorporated well. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt, then slowly incorporate it into the wet mixture (butter, etc.). Once it is throughly mixed together, add in the chocolate chips and pecans and mix until distributed.
Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish and put half of the dough in the bottom of the pan. Using your fingers, smash the caramels into sheets (about 2×3 inches) and then cover the batter with the caramels. (If your caramels are fresh this will be easy. If they are firm, then pop them unwrapped in the microwave for 3-4 seconds to soften a bit before smashing. Do it one at a time so they are easier to work with.) When the dough is covered with a layer of caramel, spread the other half of the dough on top.
Bake for 45 minutes. Let them completely cool in the pan before cutting them (I cut them into 24 pieces because they are very rich.)
*Just a note – I also tried making them with caramel bits instead of the sheet effect, they weren’t nearly as good. The layer of caramel in the middle makes them so much better! The flavor is still good, but the layered version is so much better!