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Chocolate Turtle Cookies

Turtles are a delicious treat of chocolate, caramel, and pecans. I can never eat just one! When the opportunity to try a turtle cookie recipe presented itself, I had to jump on it!

This recipe by Live Well Bake Often makes a very chocolaty cookie stuffed with caramel. That’s right – a caramel center! These babies are best fresh from the oven or reheated in the microwave for 15 seconds to remelt the caramel. Yum!

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Chocolate Turtle Cookies by Live Well Bake Often

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (I always omit salt as a personal preference)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
9-10 soft caramel candies, unwrapped and cut in half (or could use whole depending on the size of the cookies you’re making)
3/4 cup chopped pecans

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar for 1-2 minutes; mix in the egg and vanilla extract until fully combined. Slowly ad the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Cover the cookie dough tightly and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat and set aside.

Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator. Using a cookie scoop or spoon, measure out two Tbsp-sized pieces of cookie dough onto a prepared baking sheet. Flatten each piece of cookie dough, place half of a soft caramel candy in the center, then wrap the dough back around the caramel, and roll the dough into a ball. Roll the top and sides of each ball of cookie dough into the chopped pecans.

(My notes on this segment: Used a 1 1/2 Tbsp scoop for my cookies and used only one half of a caramel in each one. While this was tasty, I will add a whole caramel next time to get a better filled center. The amount of a caramel to add will vary depending on the size of the caramels you have. Rolling the dough in the pecans did not go as easily as I expected to. I ended up pressing the pecans into the top and sides as much as I could and many still fell off. I still ended up with enough pecans on the cookies but not nearly the coverage I was expecting based on the photos.)

Place each piece of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets, making sure to leave a little room between each one. Bake in two separate batches at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (You’ll be tempted to try one fresh from the oven, but remember, the caramel is hot! Let the cookies become warm before trying them.)

Cookies may be stored on the counter in an air-tight container for up to five days. Cookies may also be frozen for up to three months. Thaw at room temperature before serving. (and remember, microwave for 15 seconds to get that gooey center back).

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Sarlacc Cake

The sarlacc cake! This is the cake that set me on a run of geek-themed bundt cakes. If you’ve watched the original Star Wars trilogy, you may recognize this monster as one who almost made a snack out of the Millennium Falcon. The recipes and construction come by way of Yummy Crumble. She took inspiration from other recipes and those are all cited in her original post. She also has a plethora of monster and creepy themed desserts that look like a blast to make and eat. This sarlacc cake is easier to construct than you’d expect and there are some work around if a part doesn’t work out. I had two failed attempts at making the madeleines (both human error, not recipe error) and ran out to purchase a small pack at my local Starbucks.
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Caramel Bundt Cake

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour your bundt cake pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

With an electric mixer and paddle attachment, beat the softened butter with both sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until each is well mixed. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl. Add vanilla and mix some more.

On low, add the flour mixture alternating between the dry ingredients and the buttermilk. Start and end with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.

Pour into the bundt pan and bake for 35-45 mins or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (mine went for 40 mins). Cool in the pan for 20 mins before transferring to a cooling rack.

Biscoff Cookies Madeleines

2 large room temperature eggs
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 1/4 vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup ground Biscoff cookie crumbs (grind up an 8 oz package as you’ll use the rest for decoration)
1/4 tsp baking powder
A pinch of cinnamon
8 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled

Set oven to 375F.

Lightly grease and flour madeleine pan. Place parchment on a regular baking sheet.

In a food processor, blend a package of Biscoff cookies into crumbs. Keep a 1/2 cup ready and put the rest aside.

Beat eggs and sugar together until thick. Beat in vanilla.

Sift flour, cookie crumbs, cinnamon, and baking powder into the bowl. Fold together until mixed.

Stream in melted butter while mixing on low. Spoon a Tbsp of batter into each cavity on the madeleine sheet. Bake for 12-14 mins or until lightly golden brown. Be careful not to over-bake. Allow to cool for a few mins before removing from sheet. Make sure the pan has cooled before making the next batch.

For the tentacles, place a small amount of batter into a baggie or piping bag. Pipe a thin line of batter onto the parchment paper. The batter spreads while baking. Bake at 375F until golden brown (just a few mins).

*My first batch didn’t work out because I got distracted and threw my cookie sheet and tentacles in at the same time and never checked on them. The entire batch burned black. During my second attempt, I ran into an issue with my flour and had to wait for a new bag. Once it showed up, I forgot to add the flour to my dry ingredients. Then entire batch spread as far as it could go while baking. I was able to salvage two crunchy pieces for the tentacles for my cake. I went and bought some madeleines to finish the cake.

Decoration

Rest of the Biscoff cookie crumbs
Your favorite salted caramel sauce (I used a jar of HERSHEY’S sundae topping)
Your favorite vanilla frosting (I used a basically vanilla buttercream and Yummy Crumble uses a caramel buttercream)
Handful of slivered almonds

Once the cake has cooled, drizzle the entire cake with caramel sauce.

Cover the cake with the cookie crumbs.

Using the raw almonds, create the teeth on the interior wall of the pit (the inside of the cake).

Fill the pit with frosting and cover the frosting with cookie crumbs. This will cover many of the almonds.

Using a small piping tip (no. 4), create teeth by piping small drops around the outside edge of the madeleine cookies. (I did two rows of teeth for fun). Place the two madeleine cookies inside the pit, pushing them slightly into the frosting so that they stand. Place the tentacles around the madeleine beak.