Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Chocolate Pecan Turtle Bars -- a holiday cookie #recipe

 LESLIE BUDEWITZ:  ‘Tis the season for yum!

These bar cookies, based on the popular pecan turtle candy, have been holiday “must-haves” in my household since December 1995 – the date on the photocopied magazine page in my overflowing 3-ring binder of cookie and candy recipes. What magazine, I can’t say – the name must have been on another page. The shortbread-like crust is studded with pecan halves, then topped with a caramel sauce and a layer of chocolate. They're super-easy and don't require tons of ingredients, so they'd be fun to make with kids, though you'll have to be careful making the stove-top caramel -- best to do that yourself. 

Here are a few more of my favorite Christmas cookie posts: 

Merrily's Russian Teacakes, aka Mexican Wedding Cakes and Snowballs -- these melty delights actually provide a clue in As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles, 5th in my Food Lovers' Village Mysteries. A perennial favorite whenever talk turns to holiday cookies!  

Gnome for the Holidays

Christmas Crinkle Cookies -- rich, fudgy, and fabulous! 

Cranberry Bliss Seven Layer Bars -- a reader gave me this recipe and it's gooey, sweet, and delish! 

Chocolate Pistachio Slices -- just slice and bake!

Lemon Cardamom Crescents -- okay, you can tell by now Christmas cookies mean nuts and chocolate to me, but here's one lovely exception!

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy season, whatever you celebrate. 

Chocolate Pecan Turtle Bars

For the crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup packed brown sugar

½ cup butter, softened

1-1/2 cups pecan halves

For the topping:

2/3 cup butter

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of your mixer, beat flour, 1 cup brown sugar, and ½ cup butter on medium for 2-3 minutes, until well-mixed. Press firmly into an ungreased 13X9X2 inch baking pan. Lay pecans over the crust. 

In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the 2/3 cup butter and ½ cup brown sugar. 

Bring to a boil; boil for 1 minute, stirring continuously as the caramel sauce thickens and darkens. Pour over pecans. 

Bake 18-22 minutes, or until bubbly.

Remove pan from oven. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Let stand for 3 minutes on a cooling rack, then spread chocolate with a knife or small spatula, allowing some chips to remain whole. Cool completely. Cut into small squares or rectangles. Store tightly covered.


From the cover of THE SOLACE OF BAY LEAVES, Spice Shop Mystery #5, out now in paperback, e-book and audio (Seventh St. Books and Tantor Audio) : 

Pepper Reece never expected to find solace in bay leaves. 

But when her life fell apart at forty and she bought the venerable-but-rundown Spice Shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, her days took a tasty turn. Now she’s savoring the prospect of a flavorful fall and a busy holiday cooking season, until danger bubbles to the surface ... 

Between managing her shop, worrying about her staff, and navigating a delicious new relationship, Pepper’s firing on all burners. But when her childhood friend Maddie is shot and gravely wounded, the incident is quickly tied to an unsolved murder that left another close friend a widow. 

Convinced that the secret to both crimes lies in the history of a once-beloved building, Pepper uses her local-girl contacts and her talent for asking questions to unearth startling links between the past and present—links that suggest her childhood friend may not have been the Golden Girl she appeared to be. Pepper is forced to face her own regrets and unsavory emotions, if she wants to save Maddie’s life—and her own. 

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. Watch for her first standalone suspense novel, Bitterroot Lake (written as Alicia Beckman) in April 2021 from Crooked Lane Books.

A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. I am going to make this! Thanks, Leslie.

  2. The perfect ending to Christmas dinner!

  3. Love this recipe! Thanks!

  4. I love those turtle chocolates! Will have to try this recipe. Thanks! Renee W. - rwilson(at)ws4r(dot)com

  5. Oh My Goodness!
    Well, your goodness!
    These look outrageous.
    I just finished eating dinner and even though I'm technically "full", I want these NOW!

    1. Ha -- never let fullness interfere with a good cookie!

    2. A woman after my own heart! (and stomach, and taste buds!!!)

  6. These look so easy and tasty! Definitely need to add them to my holiday cookie repertoire.