Turtle Cookie Cups

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These turtle cookie mugs transform a sweet into a delicious dessert! Cups of chocolate chip cookies filled with homemade caramel, nuts and caramel whipped cream.

Cups of chocolate chip cookies filled with caramel whipped cream and drizzled with more caramel.

It's been an eternity and a day since I published a new cookie cup recipe. Almost TWO years, in fact. Madness. Most of you probably don't even realize I have recipes other than cakes here, but I do! Not much, but I do. And cookie cups are one of my favorite favorite desserts, especially for the holidays!

These turtle cookie cups I bring you today have received rave reviews from my taste testers, and are truly a new favorite here.

Turtle biscuit cups with a bite taken out showing caramel oozing out.

What are turtles?

Turtles are a chocolate candy consisting of caramel and chocolate coated nuts. The name comes from the fact that its shape resembles a turtle.

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They are available all year round, but for me they are synonymous with the holiday season.

My version of Tortugas as Cookie Cups consists of a base of chocolate chip cookies, homemade caramel, walnuts, and caramel whipped cream.

Overhead photo of cookie cutters.

Chocolate Cookie Cups

I've already made versions of these cookie cutters, basically it's a chocolate cookie recipe made in a cup. I use a large tablespoon of cookies (3 tablespoons) to divide the dough into two cupcake molds. I find that dark colored trays work best for cookie cups. However, it is a personal preference, any kind of cupcake / muffin pan will work (minis included).

I just saw that Wilton now makes a mega 24 cupcake tray for standard size cupcakes and minis. Easier than two IMO 12-portion pans. I am adding both to my shopping list!

I bake cookie sheets anywhere from 13 to 15 minutes, but this may depend on the oven and how many pans you have there (or if you use a mega skillet). You want the centers to be established primarily.

Once ready, remove the cookie cups from the oven and use something to press them into the cup. I use my Pam's lid for baking as it is the perfect size, but you can also use a tart or a small spice jar.

If the cookies are too sticky at this point, the raw dough shoots out from the sides, put them back in the oven for a minute or two and repeat.

I often make a few passes by pressing down. I make a round that's pretty smooth, then another round where I press the cups a little more firmly once they start to cool down. I try not to chill them too long in the pans as they will start to stick.

Getting them out can be tricky, so do your best and use something to push them in if necessary. I recommend using any tools you have used to make the cup to push them. Press down, turn and lift. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Angled bite shot of cookie cup.

Homemade caramel

I've talked extensively about how to make caramel in my Caramel Cake post, so read carefully to find out what can go wrong and how to avoid it. Spoiler – It's actually pretty easy, but you need to make sure your cream and butter are completely at room temperature, and that the caramel doesn't boil too vigorously once they are added.

I love my homemade caramel recipe, but you could use a store-bought caramel sauce if you want to make your life easier.

Caramel can be left at room temperature for a couple of days or refrigerated for one to two weeks. You can also freeze it.

You will have a little caramel. Can be used as a topping for ice cream, chocolate cakes, or a variety of other desserts!

Whipped cream with caramel

The key I always recommend to get a good volume of your whipped cream is to make sure everything is cold – your cream, your metal bowl, and your metal whisk. This is only for best results.

For the caramel whipped cream, I whipped the cold cream until smooth peaks, then added about 1/2 cup of chilled caramel. You can add more or less to taste.

Whipped cream doesn't keep very well, so be sure to use it (and leftovers) within 2-3 days. I froze some of the filled cookie cups, and the whipped cream was totally fine once thawed.

Angled shot of a cookie cup with a turtle on top.

Assembling these turtle cookie cups

The assembly of these is super simple and you can customize it the way you want. I added a bit of caramel to the bottom of each cup of cookies, then put a walnut on top and put the caramel whipped cream on top of that.

You could skip the caramel at the bottom of the mug, but I love the flavor and the stickiness it adds. You can also use chopped walnuts instead of a whole walnut.

I tried a variety of options to decorate them. In one case, I scratched my piping bag with real caramel to swirl with the whipped cream as it poured. This looked great, but maybe a little busy, and I wanted to make the caramel drizzle, so I thought it would be a little too much.

My favorite variation is what you see here: a turtle bite and a walnut on top, drizzled with caramel.

In fact, I didn't even know that turtle bites existed until last week. He had purchased a (rather large) package of full-size turtles from Costco, which he intended to use as photo props.

So I decided that I wanted to buy some Mini Turtles for the top of the cookie sheets, and when I bought them I realized that Turtles Bites was on the cover of the store. Totally fortuitous, as they are the perfect size for cookie cutters. Obviously I also bought the Minis, and now I have MANY turtles in my house.

Another Bite of the Tortuga Cookie Cup

If you are a fan of turtles, you will love these turtle cookie mugs! They are the perfect combination of flavors, together in an easy to prepare dessert.

Looking for more cookie cup recipes?

Tips for making these turtle cookie cups

  • Instead, you can make them as mini cookie cups, using a mini cupcake tray. You just need to reduce the cooking time – start checking after 7-8 minutes or so.
  • If the cookie cups are too sticky when you try to press them, put them back in the oven for a couple of minutes.
  • Don't let the baked cookie cups sit in the pan too long as they will start to stick together. I try to transfer them about 5 minutes to cool down; this can be tricky if they are very smooth. It seems to me that twisting them to remove them works well. Sometimes I wait another 5 minutes.
  • Caramel can be made the day before and left on the counter overnight. Refrigerate or freeze unused portions.
  • You will have a little caramel. Can be used as a topping for ice cream, chocolate cakes, or a variety of other desserts!
  • To learn what to do and what not to do to make candy, see this post.
  • You can use a store-bought caramel sauce if you want to make your life easier.
  • Make sure your heavy cream is cold (ideally the mixer bowl as well), as this will help give the whipped cream more volume.
  • The cookies will soften a bit the longer they stay with the filling.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer (in an airtight container) for 1-2 months.
  • It is served cold, but it can be served at room temperature. Eat within 2-3 days.
  • If you like them, check out some of my other cookie cup recipes!

Turtle Cookie Cups

These turtle cookie mugs transform a sweet into a delicious dessert! Cups of chocolate chip cookies filled with homemade caramel, nuts and caramel whipped cream.

Course dessert

Cooking Biscuit, Cake

Keyword Cookie Cakes

Preparation time 1 hour 30 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes

Rest time (caramel) 3 hours

Total time 4 hours 40 minutes

Servings 20

Calories 270kcal

Ingredients

Homemade caramel (make in advance):

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 225 ml thick cream at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

Caramel whipped cream filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups chilled thick whipped cream
  • 1/2 cup caramel

Instructions

Homemade caramel (make in advance):

  • Put the sugar and water in a medium saucepan, stir to combine, but do not stir from now on. Cook over high heat, washing the sides of the pot with a pastry brush moistened with water as necessary to avoid crystals.

  • Cook to desired caramel color (amber) and immediately remove from heat. Pour in thick cream very slowly (room temperature) while whisking quickly. The mixture will bubble (a lot) and boil. Add butter (at room temperature), reheat and boil again. Simmer for 2 minutes, whisking constantly.

  • Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature (approximately 2 hours). Transfer to a container. *

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups:

  • Preheat oven to 350 ° F. Spray two regular-size cupcake cans with cooking spray.

  • Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

  • Whip the butter and sugars over medium heat until soft and fluffy (approx. 2-3 minutes). Slow down and add the eggs one at a time and the vanilla. Whisk until combined. Add flour mixture and mix until combined.

  • Using a large tablespoon of cookies (3 tablespoons), place the dough in muffin pans.

  • Bake for approx. 13-15 minutes or until everything is ready, but still smooth in the middle.

  • Remove from oven and immediately use a small jar or container to press down firmly in the center to create a well. **

  • Cool in pans for 5 minutes, loosen each one slightly by turning it in the pan. Chill for an additional 5 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Caramel whipped cream filling:

Mounting:

  • Add 1-2 teaspoons of caramel to the bottom of each cup of cookies. Place a walnut in the bottom. Chill for 10 minutes to prepare the caramel. Put a caramel whipped cream on top. Place a turtle bite and walnut on top, drizzle with more caramel and sprinkle with finely chopped walnuts if desired.

  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer (in an airtight container) for 1-2 months. It is served cold, but it can be served at room temperature. Eat within 2-3 days.

Notes

* Caramel can be made the day before and left on the counter overnight. Refrigerate or freeze unused portions. ** If the cookie cups are too sticky when you try to press them, put them back in the oven for a couple of minutes.

Calories: 270 kcal Carbohydrates: 29 g Protein: 3 g Fat: 17 g Saturated fat: 10 g Cholesterol: 70 mg Sodium: 137 mg Potassium: 89 mg Fiber: 1 g Sugar: 17 g Vitamin A: 577 IU Vitamin C: 1 mg Calcium: 34 mg Iron: 1 mg

Nutritional information and metric conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data. If this is important to you, check with your favorite nutrition calculator and / or your metric conversion tool.

Tortoise Cookie Cups Collage

Turtle cookies

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