Pecan Turtle Thumbprints

Today, it felt like fall in my kitchen. The aroma of toasted pecans filled my home and it was delightful. I seriously love fall baking.

And now I want your home to smell like fall too!

Although these cookies look intricate, they're really not. You can have them done in less than an hour. They have several moving parts, but each part is straight-forward and comes naturally.

The part that I love the best? A chewy caramel paired with the toasted pecans. You can add a little chocolate on top too -- and that's perfection. These thumbprints have a cocoa cookie base that is rolled in chopped pecans, printed, and baked to the perfect chewy/dry consistency. You add a little homemade VEGAN caramel to the top and it's a fancy fall cookie.

Perfect in time for Labor Day weekend coming up!

Pecan Turtle Thumbprints
1 1/3 c. organic whole wheat pastry flour
1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of sea salt
1/3 c. coconut oil, softened
1 T. flax seed, ground
3 T. water
1/3 c. coconut sugar
1/3 c. organic cane sugar
2 T. almond milk
2 tsp. vanilla-infused bourbon (learn more about infusing here!)

1/4 c. almond milk, for rolling
1 c. chopped pecans, for rolling

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a pan with parchment paper or a Silpat.

In a small cup, combine the water and flax. Stir and allow it to thicken for five minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the coconut oil, cocoa, sugars, almond milk, and vanilla. Add the flax mixture when it is ready. Slowly mix in the flour and salt.

Vegan Pecan Turtle Thumbprint Cookies 1.jpg

Next, set up your rolling station. You can get about a dozen cookies from this recipe; more if you make your balls a little smaller. Take a chunk of dough and roll it into a ball -- try to make them as uniform as possible. Roll the ball around in the milk and then roll it around in the nuts, pressing down lightly so that the nuts stick well. Place it on the baking sheet and repeat this with the rest of the dough.

Before you place them in the oven, press your thumb down gently into it. These cookies don't spread too much, so remember when you are arranging them and thumbing them. As a tip, hold the sides of the cookie gently when you make your thumbprint. This will prevent extra cracking.

Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes. My cookies were on the large side, so mine took close to 15 minutes. After they've cooled for a little, you might need to re-thumb them to emphasize the print.

For the caramel filling: I'm giving you two options! First, you can make my Caramel Sauce from my brownie recipe. This is what I did and it turned out like magic. Or, have you heard of Cocomels? Melt some Cocomels and go to town! You can even drizzle some chocolate on top too. (I did this and the pictures were not as cute, but the cookies were still tasty!)

I took them to my neighborhood cookout over the weekend. I kept them in a storage bag in the freezer beforehand (so they would survive the SC heat!) and labeled them with a Sharpie. (I've noticed that people don't like to eat things when they don't know what they are.) The cookies were popular at the gathering -- southerners do love their pecans!

Try them out at your next BBQ, book club, or any random Monday night ;-)