Turtle Cookies with Chocolate Frosting

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I think that my mother may have been a little distracted when she wrote this recipe. The vanilla is added to the cookie dough twice, and she forgot to include a baking temperature! There are times when I wish that I could ask the authors of these family recipes what to do. I am, however, thankful that their instruction gave me the skills to solve such dilemmas.

These cookies are extremely rich and well-flavored; the brown sugar gives them an almost brandy-like undertone. They are “turtle” in flavor, if not particularly terrapinal in appearance. Every time is a good time to enjoy cookies, but for those seeking justification, serve these as an accompaniment to morning coffee, evening cocoa, or afternoon tea.



  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups white flour
  • Approximately 1 cup pecan or walnut halves


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the Cookies:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, water, and vanilla extract.


Stir in the flour, and mix well.


On an ungreased baking sheet, place 1 inch balls of the cookie dough.


Press a pecan or walnut half into the top of each dough ball.

Bake for 12-14 minutes. The cookies will not spread or “brown”, but the bottoms of the cookies will become a light golden brown.

Cool the cookies on a rack while preparing the frosting.

For the Frosting:


Heat the butter and water in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted.


Add the cocoa, and whisk until blended. Remove from heat.


Stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla.


Top each of the cooled cookies with a spoonful of frosting.

Makes 20 cookies.

Click here for a print-friendly version.


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