Pecan Turtle Cookies (Low Carb and Gluten Free)


I would consider myself a fairly decisive person, but like any woman, I always reserve the right to change my mind. I am not sure why this is supposed to be a feminine characteristic, because I think everyone should reserve the right to change their mind. A little more information, a change of heart, or even just a passing fancy should be enough. When it matters, stick to your guns. When it doesn’t, open your mind to other possibilities.

But I am sure you aren’t reading this post to hear my philosophy on life, so on to the recipe. I don’t normally change horses midstream when baking, but this time I certainly did. For months now, I’ve been meaning to invent a low carb sandwich cookie, so when I came across a chocolate cookie recipe from Tiana Coconut, I thought they would suit my needs perfectly. But once the cookies were made, I was struck by sudden indecision. I found I wanted to put something on top of the cookies, instead of between, and I waffled a great deal on what that should be. Peanut butter frosting? Chocolate mint ganache? Both lovely possibilities but I ended up being a tad more ambitious. I am not quite certain what possessed me to attempt low carb caramel made with erythritol. Perhaps my success with the pecan brittle had gone to my head. At any rate, this turned into quite the little experiment!


The Results: It’s my own fault if these didn’t turn out perfectly. I am not a patient person and I believe that I overboiled my erythritol caramel. I think it was on it’s way to cooling nicely into caramel, but I thought it was a little thin so I decided to boil it again. Oops! After that, the oil separated out and I had to whisk it like mad to make it come together again. It did come back together, but the resulting candy has a slightly grainy quality, it’s not as smooth as I would like. Still, it tastes and smells like true caramel, and quite frankly, if this is as good as low carb caramel can get, I will take it!

The cookie portion could stand to be a little more chocolately. I followed the recipe to the letter, except for the replacement of sugar with granulated erythritol. I think next time, I might replace some of the cocoa powder with unsweetened chocolate and some of the erythritol with stevia, to see if I can make the cookies denser and fudgier. The recipe is a keeper, however, and these cookies would make a good base for any topping that might strike your fancy. Or heck, do what I originally intended and sandwich something between them! Peanut butter might be nice!

Pecan Turtle Cookies

1/4 cup sifted coconut flour
1/4 cup butter or virgin coconut oil
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3 eggs
1/4 cup granulated erythritol
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla

3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup powdered erythritol
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla

16 pecan halves, toasted

For the cookies, preheat the oven to 350F and line a cookie sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

In a small saucepan, melt butter or coconut oil over low heat. Stir in cocoa powder and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, erythritol, salt and vanilla until fully combined. Stir in cocoa mixture. Whisk in coconut flour until mixture is smooth. Let sit for a few minutes until it is thickened slightly.

Roll 1 inch balls between palms and place on prepared baking sheet. Using your palms, flatten balls into 1/4 inch thick disks. Bake 12-14 minutes or until set. Let cool on pan.

For the caramel, melt butter over low heat in small saucepan. Add erythritol and turn heat to medium. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until temperature on a candy thermometer reaches 250-266F. Add cream and vanilla and stir vigorously. Mixture will froth up and sizzle. Bring back to a full boil and let boil one minute, continuing to stir. Let cool until thickened enough to spread onto cookies.

If the resulting caramel does not thicken enough, do not boil again! Simply warm gently over low heat and add an additional tbsp or two of powdered erythritol. Stir until dissolved.

Top each cookie with a toasted pecan half and let set.

Makes 16 servings. Total carbs per cookie is 8.8g, but only 3g if you subtract erythritol.

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  1. sara @ CaffeIna says

    I think it's great instead that you experimented! I always want to do so but I usually change only 1 or 2 ingredients. You did a real baking experiment here. Great job!

  2. Susi says

    I'm always impressed by your ability to take a recipe and change it to fit your needs! Great job on the cookies, they certainly don't look low-carb :o)

  3. nicole says

    well they look delicious. It is the best way to learn, doing a few experiments in the kitchen – i love it when you get a happy success!

  4. blackbookkitchendiaries says

    turtles are really good:) and they are even better when it's low carb. this looks so lovely. thanks for sharing this.

  5. Sommer J says

    Just amazing!! This looks so damn good!! My children would love this, though I am not sure where to find the sweetener!! I will brave these soon!!!

    I am incredible impatient when making caramel, too!!! I've had more fails than successes due to my lack of patience! Still, you caramel look gorgeous and love the added pecan. This will also go great in a care package!!

  6. Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having says

    Turtles were one of my favourites before I developed an allergy to pecans and walnuts. I wish I could have a bite on one of these!

  7. The Urban Baker says

    Carolyn, I love the idea of using coconut flour! I am going to try these for my friend, Alex, who is insulin intolerant. They look delicious!

  8. Andrea@WellnessNotes says

    I want one right now! Love that you experimented! Unfortunately, I experiment a bit too much when I attempt to bake, and I really don't know enough…

  9. Stella says

    Hey Carolyn, these cookies look delicious, but I know what you're talking about with patience. I've been better about that lately, but I still have to have little talks with myself about slowing down and being present in the moment (smile but seriously)!
    Oh, and I love that these are gluten free…

  10. Erin @ EKat's Kitchen says

    Carolyn, thanks so much for this recipe – I love how healthy even your cookies are! Thank you so much for sharing with Friday Potluck @ EKat's Kitchen! I hope you'll join in every week!

  11. Sugar Free Low Carb says

    Beautiful cookies. I still haven't attempted cooking the erythritol to make caramel, but it does look like it is worth a try.

  12. Sophie says

    MMMMMMMMMM,..Thse chocolate gf cookies wit the topping look incrdibly tasty!! Why do you cal them turtle cookies? They don't look like turtles!

  13. Marly says

    I'm the same way – I can ruin a recipe by getting so many things going at once. But when it does work out, it feels like conducting a symphony. Not that I would know how that feels, but I imagine it feels awesome!

  14. Jeanine says

    Oh my, oh my, oh my…those cookies look amazing! Bet ya couldn't eat just one! Definitely keeping these in mind for the holiday baking list. :)

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