These turtle cookie bars have a shortbread crust, a caramel and pecan layer and are topped off with chocolate.
I’ll be posting sweets from now until Christmas. I hope nobody minds. 😀
These turtle cookie bars are quite a bit sweeter than the treats I usually post on my other blog, Texanerin Baking. I really recommend topping the bars with dark chocolate to cut the sweetness!
If you don’t like dark chocolate, semi-sweet works but then you’ll want to cut these bars much smaller. Milk chocolate would be way too sweet!
I used melted chocolate + a little coconut oil on top of the bars but you could also just toss on some chocolate chips for a quicker version.
You could also toss on chocolate chips while the bars are still hot and then make the layer of chocolate that way.
Using a little bit of coconut oil just makes the topping a little softer. It doesn’t change the taste at all.
When mixing up the shortbread crust dough, you’ll just have crumbs. It won’t resemble a dough at all. Make sure it’s well combined and then press it firmly into the pan.
For the flour, you can use white whole wheat flour or this 1-to-1 Gluten-free Baking Flour. You could also try another one that’s meant as a 1-to-1 sub for wheat flour but since I haven’t tried it, I can’t be sure that it works.
For another gluten-free Thanksgiving dessert, try this gluten-free pecan pie.
I didn’t try making a dairy-free or vegan version of these because I’ve always had a hard time subbing coconut oil for butter in crusts and caramel. It’s doable but takes a bit of testing.
When you take the bars out of the oven, the topping indeed looks a bit odd. It’ll have some little indentations in it. It’s totally normal!
Turtle Cookie Bars (gluten-free option)
- 6 tablespoons (84 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups (188 grams) white whole wheat flour or 1 1/2 cups (207 grams) of Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-free Baking Flour
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 6 tablespoons (75 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups (138 grams) pecans or walnuts, chopped to about 1/4 inch (2/3 cm)
- 1 cup (170 grams) dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
- 2 teaspoons refined coconut oil (unrefined is fine if you don't mind a little coconut taste)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line an 8 × 8-inch (20 × 20 cm) baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on opposite ends.
- Prepare the crust. In a large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until well combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the salt and flour. The mixture will resemble crumbs and will not come together as dough. Press firmly onto the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Prepare the topping. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, and then add the sugar and salt. Bring to a boil while stirring almost constantly. Boil for 90 seconds, stirring constantly. Quickly stir in the pecans. Pour the caramel nut mixture over the crust and bake for 16 to 20 minutes or until the caramel is bubbly.
- Put the chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after every 30 seconds, until melted. Spread over the bars.
- Let cool, cover and store at room temperature for up to 5 days. Can also be frozen.