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Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies with a Turtle Topping

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Shortbread Cookies are buttery, tender and melt in your mouth amazing. With just the right amount of crunch, these easy slice and bake cookies are topped with layers of gooey chocolate and caramel with an elevated pecan flavor. The butter pecan shortbread is perfectly paired with the turtle topping! They are a must-try this holiday season!

plate of butterpecan cookies

This time of year, when the weather is cooler and we are spending more and more time inside, it is the perfect opportunity to get creative with your baking or learn a new skill. Whether you have made cookies before or this is your first time making them from scratch, these turtle topped shortbread cookies are one of the best.

They are a very easy make-ahead cookie which is perfect for adding a bit of convenience to your holiday preparations, resulting in a showstopping Christmas cookie. They travel well and are always so well received when mailed to a friend to brighten up their day. Bake these for cookie exchanges, as gifts for your neighbors, or just because you are craving something sweet!

Butter pecan shortbread cookies have that classic and traditional shortbread nostalgia with an added flare, combining delicate textures with bold flavors.

They consist of that signature shortbread buttery, crispy melt in your mouth texture and flavor but with the addition of chopped pecans and toffee bits. They are delectable as is even without the toppings, but that added melted chocolate and dollop of caramel takes these chocolate pecan shortbread cookies to new heights. In the south, they’re often referred to as candy bar cookies. I can see why!

Cookie Tray with Butter Pecan Turtle Cookies

Christmas Cookies Week

This week I’m bringing you ALL THE COOKIES you’ll ever need for mailing this Christmas! I’m a part of Christmas cookies Week with many other food writers sharing all new recipes.

That’s not all– I’m sharing a giveaway for some prizes to make your baking even better!

I’ve been given some products to showcase in these recipes but as always the opinions are all mine. I’d like to thank Analon, Adams Extract and Milliken Pecan Company for their generous donations for making this giveaway possible.

Scroll down to see the prizes and enter the giveaway in the rafflecopter!

History of Shortbread

Shortbread originated in Scotland. It was at first a twice-baked yeast biscuit (what the Scottish refer to as cookies). Throughout medieval times as early as the 12th Century is when shortbread was thought to have been created. When the yeast was substituted with butter, there began the shortbread that we are familiar with today.

There are versions of the story as to how shortbread got its name. Some think it was due to the short texture of the cookie and others think it refers to the shortening used (or any fat, really).

From the original ingredients and how it evolved over time, to the way it was eaten and when it became a tea time biscuit, there is a lot of great information on the history of shortbread, if you’re interested!

ingredients to make cookie


  • Butter – Salted, because that’s what my grandma who made shortbread cookies 10000 times in her lifetime used and that’s good enough for me. Also, make sure it’s room temperature.
  • Sugar – Brown sugar for a little help with the tender crumb texture.
  • Vanilla – the real stuff– not just flavored vanilla
  • Egg
  • All-purpose flour
  • Toffee bits – For a special bite in the cookie and a little added toffee taste.
  • Caramels – Lots of em!
  • Pecans – Some will be kept whole, and some will be chopped.
  • Evaporated milk
  • Chocolate chips – I use dark because that’s my favorite. I also feel that it’s a nice balance to the sweetness of the cookie without making it overly sweet. However, feel free to use whatever you’d like! Milk chocolate and semi-sweet will also work.

How to Make Them

  1. Add butter and brown sugar to a mixing bowl and beat until creamed together.
  2. Blend in the egg and vanilla and then add in the flour and mix until just combined. You want to be very careful to add just the right amount of flour. Adding too much or too little can affect the texture of your cookie.
  3. Stir in the toffee bits and chopped pecans.
  4. Divide the dough in half and place each portion on a separate piece of plastic wrap and shape into a long log– You can do round or square logs.
  5. Wrap each log up sealing the ends and place in the fridge. If you place a towel underneath the logs it helps prevent getting a straight side and helps keeps the round shape. No need to worry if you are making a straight edge cookie.
  6. At this point, you can keep them in the fridge (or freezer) until you’re ready to use them at a later date. (Wrap in plastic if going in the freezer.)
  7. Take the cookies out of the fridge and cut them into 1/2 inch slices. Place them 2 inches apart to allow for room to spread without attaching to each other.
  8. Bake until slightly golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Getting the Turtle Topping

  • Lay all of the cookies out on a rack and have them ready to top, the caramel and chocolate start to set right away. Have the pecan halves sitting right next to them
  • Melt the caramels in a small pan with condensed milk and butter.
  • Once the caramel is a firm texture quickly spoon a tablespoon on top of the cookies.
  • Once all the cookies are done, then melt the chocolate in the microwave for 30-second increments until a creamy texture.
  • Quickly spoon a small amount on top of the caramel, then immediately press a pecan half right in the center.
  • You’ll need to let the cookies set for a couple of hours before storing them in order to have the caramel and chocolate not get all messed up.

How to Get a Crisp Shortbread

  • Use butter, not margarine. It gives a more crispy/crunchy cookie
  • Make sure to chill the dough so it doesn’t spread too thin. I will even keep the cookies that aren’t baking in the fridge until they go into the oven.
  • Place a piece of parchment on the cookie sheet before placing the cookie dough on it. It helps it not stick.

Tips For Mailing Christmas Cookies

  • Buy a cookie tin that is airtight to pack them in.
  • Use parchment or tissue paper to wrap the cookies in stacks. If there are different moisture levels in your cookies, I would place the stacks in separate containers in a larger container. 
  • You could also pack each stack in a ziplock bag.
  • Pack the cookies tightly, but not so tight they will break.
  • Box up the container in a larger box and pack it within bubble wrap so it doesn’t bounce around and let the cookies break. 
  • Wait until they are absolutely and completely cooled before wrapping them up.
Turtle cookies on a plate

Common Questions

I only have margarine, can I use it for the shortbread? You can use margarine but the flavor will not be as buttery or as delicious. They may spread out more than butter, so make sure to use very chilled dough.

My dough seems very crumbly and not holding for the log. What can I do? Add a small amount of softened butter (about a tablespoon) or add a couple of drops of water until they hold together. Do NOT add too much but rather add in small amounts to make sure to not overwet it.

Why do I have to chill the shortbread dough? Chilling the dough keeps the butter firm, helping to keep the cookie shape even and compact.

More Cookies You Might Enjoy Mailing to Loved Ones

Welcome to #ChristmasCookies week where more than 25 bloggers are sharing cookie recipes perfect for your holiday celebrations. Hosted by Ellen from Family Around the Table, Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures and Heather from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks, we invite you to not only check out the recipes but enter the amazing giveaway.

Don’t miss one delicious cookie recipe! Follow along on Pinterest.

Prize 1: Tower of Treats from Millican Pecan Company

Assorted Pecan goodies in a tin.

Originally founded as the West Texas Pecan Nursery in the late 1800’s, Millican Pecan is now in 5th generation ownership. Located in San Saba, TX, the family continues the tradition of pecan farming while also branching the business into the online world. The family also enjoys educating people about pecans. One winner will receive The Tower of Treats Gift Tins. The tower includes 3 decorative gift tins stacked on top of each other. The bottom tin includes our 2 lb. Chocolate Pecan Sampler, the middle tin is our Flavored Pecan Sampler and the top tin is an 8 oz. tin of Milk Chocolate Caramillicans (similar to Turtles). An $80 value.

Prize 2: An Assortment of Flavored Extracts from Adams Extract and Spices

Adams Extract Logo

 In January 2013, Adams, one of the oldest continuously operated companies in Texas and one of oldest spice and extract companies in the United States, celebrated its 125th birthday and was awarded the Texas Treasure Business Award, an award sponsored by State Bill 920 that recognizes the accomplishments of Texas businesses that have provided employment opportunities and support to the state’s economy for at least 50 years and pays tribute to the state’s well-established businesses and their exceptional historical contributions toward the state’s economic growth and prosperity.

Today, Adams proudly manufactures and markets under several Adams Brand banners, including Adams Best®, Adams Extract®, Adams® Seasoning & Spice, Adams Reserve®, Flavor King™, Pantry Basics™, Sear-n-Crust®, ClearVan™, Carniceria®, Cocina del Rey®, Naturals™, and Urban Canner™ along with the Adams Frozen Skillet Desserts and Adams Premium Ice Cream lines. In addition, Adams is proud to manufacture for some of the nations most respected Private Label Brands as well as other legacy Regional Seasoning Brands and is used to flavor many commercially produced food products around the nation.

Prize 3: A Set of Baking Pans from Anolon

Baking pans

Established in the 1950’s, Meyer Manufacturing started by making and selling flashlights. In 1971 they started their journey into selling cookware. By 1986 they released the world’s first hard-anodized nonstick cookware which revolutionized the world of home cooking. Their nonstick surface didn’t flake or scratch easily.

Today they sell bakeware with nonstick interior and exterior made with a special sapphire-reinforced blend that is triple coated. NOTE: Color may vary from the photo above.

Prize 4: An Assorted Baking Box from Sweets & Treats

Sweets & Treats Logo

Make Sweets & Treats your one-stop shop for all your holiday sprinkle needs. In addition to fun, festive and colorful sprinkles, Sweets & Treats offers cupcake liners, edible glitters, sugars, and more.

Founded in 2010 by Shannon Harvey out of an industry need for bold, bright cupcake liners and baking supplies that are the life of the party! Based in Louisiana, Sweets & Treats is a designer cupcake liner manufacturer and party supply company that creates exclusive greaseproof cupcake liners, sprinkles, sprinkle mixes, paper straws, and other baking supplies. 

Four (4) winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. Bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment. Winners have 24 hours to respond once notified by email, or they forfeit the prize and an alternate winner will be chosen. The #ChristmasCookies bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members living in the household cannot enter or win the giveaway. Entries will be verified. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Giveaway open to US Residents only who are 18 years of age or older to enter giveaway. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the #ChristmasCookies posts or entry.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

PLATE OF cookies next to a rack
Yield: 36

Chocolate Caramel Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies

cookies on a plate

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Shortbread Cookies are buttery, tender and melt in your mouth amazing. With just the right amount of crunch, these easy slice and bake cookies are topped with layers of gooey chocolate and caramel with an elevated pecan flavor. The butter pecan shortbread is perfectly paired with the turtle topping! They are a must-try this holiday season!

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Additional Time 2 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 3 minutes


Butter Pecan Shortbread

  • 1 Cup Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Toffee Bits
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans 

Caramel Topping

  • 28 Caramels
  • 6 Tablespoons Evaporated Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter

Chocolate Topping

  • 1 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 36 Pecan Halves


Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies

  1. In the base of a mixing bowl, add softened butter, both sugars and beat until creamed together.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla and blend well.
  3. Add in the flour and mix until just combined, then stir in the toffee bits and the chopped pecans.
  4. Divide the dough in half, place each on a separate piece of plastic and shape into a long log.
  5. Fully seal each log and place them on a towel on a shelf in the fridge for 2 hours. (the towel prevents the log from getting a straight side.)
  6. Preheat the oven to 350° about 20 minutes before you are ready to bake them.
  7. Cut the cookies to 1/2" rounds and place 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 12-14 minutes until slightly golden brown.
  9. Remove from the baking sheet and place on a rack to cool completely.

Caramel Topping

  1. Combine caramel and evaporated milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until fully melted.
  2. Add the chopped pecans and stir. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Then spread a spoonful over the top of each shortbread cookie.

Chocolate Pecan Topping

  1. While the caramel is cooling place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 45 seconds, then remove and stir.
  2. Place back into the microwave and microwave on high and stir.
  3. Repeat until the chocolate is melted.
  4. Spoon a layer of chocolate over the caramel, then place one pecan half on top.
  5. Allow to set for 120 minutes. Then store in an airtight container.

    Nutrition Information:



    Serving Size:


    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 193Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 76mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 1gSugar: 12gProtein: 2g

    This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. Please calculate your own nutritional information if you want it exact to what you make and use my calculations as a guide only.

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