Turtle Squares

This is American Thanksgiving week and all over the blogosphere there are posts about the holiday, being thankful and great food ideas. I have been enjoying reading the many posts people have put up with the theme of thanksgiving.

Living in Canada, we have already celebrated our Thanksgiving. Canadian Thanksgiving takes place on the second Monday of October. Even though I am not American, and I do not live in the States, I still love to celebrate American Thanksgiving. I think it is an excuse to have turkey and watch some football; who wouldn’t like that!

Today is day 21 of the 24 Days of Christmas Baking and the dessert today is my wife’s absolute favourite thing I bake. She loves Nestle turtles – well she loves chocolate, nuts and caramel so if you throw them together, it is a guaranteed winner for her. Today’s dessert takes the flavour of a Nestle turtle and puts it in a square.

cutting into squares

This square is probably the most decadent dessert in the whole 24 day marathon. It is incredibly buttery and sweet, so it would probably be smart to make the squares a little on the smaller size. Who are we kidding, that would just mean that we eat a few squares!

Shortbread crust bottom dough is mixed in an electric mixer.

How to make the crust layer

The first step to making these delicious turtle squares is to make the crust layer. This layer is very similar to a shortbread crust and very simple to make. I use a stand mixer and cream together the softened butter with the sugar until smooth and creamy. Then, slowly add in the dry ingredients, with the mixer on medium low. As you can see in the picture above, the crust dough should be seem somewhat dry and crumbly.

Press the dough into a 13x9 baking dish.

Take the dough and press it into a 13×9 baking dish. I use a non stick pan, but a glass dish works great as well. Place in a preheated 350F oven and bake for 13 minutes. The crust should be puffing up a bit and just starting to brown on the edges.

Make the caramel in a saucepan.

How to make the caramel layer

Making caramel is not difficult and can be done quite quickly. Add the caramel ingredients to a saucepan and melt over medium heat. Use a whisk to make sure all the brown sugar has been dissolved into the butter and it is a creamy smooth mixture.

Let the caramel mixture bubble for 2 minutes.

Let the caramel come to a boil. Once it reaches the boil, let it continue to boil for 1 minute. Then, immediately remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the pecan pieces.

Pour the caramel and pecans over the crust layer.

Pour the caramel and pecan mixture over the baked crust and use a rubber spatula to spread evenly in the baking dish.

Bake for 23 minutes more.

Place back in the oven and continue baking at 350 for 23 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Spread the melted chocolate evenly on the cooled caramel layer.

The final step to making these turtle squares is to add the melted chocolate. I melt the chocolate chips in a glass bowl in the microwave. You could also use a double boiler on the stove. Make sure the the caramel layer has cooled completely before before spreading on the melted chocolate. Spread the chocolate, using a rubber spatula and make sure that the layer of chocolate is even. Let the chocolate cool and then cut into squares.

Turtle Squares

4.91 out of 5
11 reviews
A decadent recipe of turtle squares with caramel, pecans, chocolate on a cookie crust. Easy instructions for how to make this dessert that tastes like candy Turtles.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 24 squares


Cookie Base

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter , softened
  • 1 cup white sugar


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Other Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


  • In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • Using an electric mixer, cream together 3/4 cup of butter with white sugar. Slowly add in the flour mixture and beat on medium low. The crust mixture should be crumbly.
  • Dump the crust mixture into a 13x9 non baking dish and press down evenly.
  • Bake in a 350F oven for 13 minutes. The edges of of the crust should be just starting to brown up and the crust should puff up a bit. Remove from the oven.
  • Add 1 cup butter, brown sugar, whipping cream, vanilla and 1/2 tsp salt to a saucepan. Melt over medium heat. Bring to a boil and let it bubble for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the pecan pieces.
  • Pour the caramel and pecan mixture over the baked crust and use a rubber spatula to spread it evenly in the baking dish. Place back in the oven and bake at 350F for 23 minutes. Let cool.
  • Place chocolate chips in a glass bowl and melt in a microwave over 50% heat for 4 minutes. Stop halfway through and stir with a rubber spatula. Spread the melted chocolate over the cooled caramel layer.
  • Let cool so the chocolate layer hardens. Cut into squares.


Did you try this recipe?

Leave a comment and let me know how it turned out. Or, take a picture to share on Instagram and tag me @theblackpeppercorn.

4.91 from 11 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  • 5 stars
    This is by far my family’s favourite dessert. It is absolutely delicious and so easy to make. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    Delicious. Perfect ratio of cookie:caramel:chocolate. Love the addition of the whipping cream to the caramel to make it a little softer and richer.

    • Reply
  • I made these and they turned out so good. I can honestly say it was the best thing I have ever baked, so thank you for sharing this.

    • Reply
  • 4 stars
    Could I make the Carmel with maple syrup? I always cut back on sugar or use alternative like coconut sugar. Do you think that would work?

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  • Do you have to use whipping cream or Will half and half work?

    • Reply
    • I have not tried it with half and half. Not sure if the caramel would thicken enough.

      • Reply
  • 5 stars
    Can you freeze them?

    • Reply
    • Yes! I freeze them all the time. Make sure to cut them into squares first, before they go in the freezer.

      • Reply
  • These are one of the favorite Christmas treats in my house, but I’ve never made them homemade. (Seriously! I don’t even know how this has happened.) Yours look delicious! Love checking out your days of holiday treats and blog overall…so much good food!

    • Reply
  • Wow. These look amazing. I adore turtles. Great post and photos!

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  • Yum! Turtles are my Dad’s favorite candy. He would love these if I made them at Christmas!

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  • These look delicious as well everything else on your site! I can’t wait to look at all the wonderful Thanksgiving treats 🙂

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  • Dessert marathon!! All looks delicious !!

    • Reply
  • These look amazing!! Can’t wait to try them!

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  • Okay that’s it. I am hoping in my car and making the drive. I’ll be there in oh about 4 hours. There better be some left or there will be a woman crumbled up crying on your porch. You do have a porch right?

    • Reply
    • Haha – Yeah I do have a porch! There is plenty here as well. You could make it in under 4 hours as well. I have a proposal for you. I will trade you a tray of my baking for some of those banana sticky buns that I saw on your site! 😛

      • Reply
  • Mmm, turtle squares 🙂 Looks delicious!

    • Reply
  • You sure are on a roll with these desserts, these ones especially look delicious! Yum!!

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  • Outstanding!

    • Reply
  • I Love turtle anything…such an awesome combination. These sound amazing!

    • Reply
  • Oooh, all that nutty brown sugar goodness!

    • Reply

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