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Recipe: White chocolate turtle cookies

December 15, 2011
(Ricardo DeAratanha, Los…)

"The holidays are about spending time with the ones you love. For me, my favorite thing is to make sure that the ones I love are enjoying the sweet treats I love to bake during the month of December. This cookie recipe is a perfect combination of so many of our favorites: white chocolate, caramel, pecans, cinnamon and a sweet, dark chocolate dough. These tender cookies host a creamy surprise center around a Rolo candy — my very favorite as a young girl!"

— Nicole Cleghorn, Minot Air Force Base, N.D.

White chocolate turtle cookies

Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes plus cooling time

Servings: Makes 4 dozen cookies

Note: Adapted from a recipe by Nicole Cleghorn.

2 1/2 cups (11 ounces) flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided

1 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup chopped pecans, divided

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

48 Rolo candies, unwrapped

4 ounces white chocolate

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa and baking soda. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream together the butter, 1 cup granulated sugar and the brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. With the mixer running at low speed, slowly add the flour mixture until completely combined. Beat in one-half cup of the chopped pecans.

3. In a small bowl, combine the remaining one-half cup pecans with the remaining tablespoon of granulated sugar and the cinnamon.

4. Assemble the cookies: Flour your hands to keep the dough from sticking. Take about 1 tablespoon of the dough and shape it around one Rolo candy, covering it completely, dip one side of each cookie into the pecan-sugar-cinnamon mixture (the cookies will look like adorable little truffles at this point). Place the cookies, nut side up, 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

5. Bake the cookies until set and slightly cracked (the cookies will flatten as they bake), 7 to 9 minutes. Cool 2 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. Melt the white chocolate: Place the white chocolate in a glass or microwave-safe bowl, and heat, stirring every 15 seconds, until melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate into a plastic bag and snip off a corner. Drizzle the chocolate over the cooled cookies. Set aside the cookies until the white chocolate is set, about 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Each of 4 dozen cookies: 142 calories; 2 grams protein; 18 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 7 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 19 mg cholesterol; 12 grams sugar; 40 mg sodium.

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