Cookies are a mainstay of Christmas. We bake them for family and share with neighbors and friends. We leave a plate of delicious cookies for Santa to nibble on as he fills stockings and places presents under our tree. The aroma of baking cookies fills our home and elicits memories of Christmases past.
We are a melting pot of ethnic groups that have brought their customs and favorite recipes to our country including their cookie recipes. When I was a child my mother baked the usual chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies. But her favorites to make were turtle cookies. These maple flavored treats with pecans and chocolate icing were made in the shape of turtles. Years ago I made these cookies and decided that they were too troublesome to make. Being a good wife my sister-in-law makes these cookies for my brother every year. A recent conversation with her inspired me to try my hand at making the turtle cookies again. Success!! They turned out as I remembered them.
I have often wondered where this cookie recipe came from. Through the years I have become more proficient in the art of baking and every year try a new cookie recipe. I buy magazines with cookie recipes, save the food section of local newspapers whenever they feature cookies, and have a cook book with one thousand cookie recipes. I have never come across the recipe for turtle cookies in any of these resources.
My maternal great-grandfather came from Switzerland. Could this recipe be Swiss? The recipe is listed below in hopes that someone out there can help me. Have you ever seen this recipe? Are turtle cookies part of your heritage? If so please let me know. If not, give them a try. They are yummy!
TURTLE COOKIES (Makes about two dozen)
½ cup of butter (one stick)
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk (save the whites)
¼ tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. maple extract
1 ½ cups sifted flour (you really need to sift the flour)
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
Preheat oven at 350°. Grease cookie sheets.
Cream butter and add brown sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk, vanilla, and maple extract. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together. Gradually add to the butter mixture. Chill dough for one hour. To form the turtles use one pecan for the head and two pecans for the legs. Roll dough into small balls using a teaspoon or small scoop. Lightly beat egg whites. Dip each ball into the egg whites and place on the pecans shaping the ball like a turtle. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely and ice with your favorite chocolate icing.