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Maxine’s Turtle Cookies


I grew up in a small town called Sycamore in Illinois. My mom would take us to the local confectionary and I continued the tradition with my daughter. We haven’t lived in Illinois for a long time, but whenever we go back we always make sure to stop by the confectionary to pick up some sweet treats for our family.

During these confectionary trips, we always bought my mother-in-law sea monsters. Sea Monsters are our local confectionary’s giant version of turtle candy. Unfortunately, my sweet mother-in-law, Maxine, passed away from cancer in December 2019. This recipe makes me think of the sea monster candy she loved. These cookies are vegan-friendly and a fun treat to make over the holidays.

I am not a huge fan of baking but this recipe comes together easily and the end result is worth it. I begin by making a simple chocolate cookie dough and then roll it into little dough balls. Then the dough balls get coated in chocolate and chopped pecans. After baking I decorate the cookies with homemade vegan caramel and a drizzle of melted semi-sweet chocolate. Enjoy!

Maxine’s Turtle Cookies

These are a cookie version of turtle candies that you can find at a confectionary.
Servings 20 cookies
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 47 minutes


  • cutting board
  • Chef's Knife
  • handheld mixer
  • Mixing bowls various sizes
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • small saucepan
  • baking sheet


  • ½ cup Earth Balance butter room temp
  • cup coconut sugar
  • 2 Tbsp plant-based milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup pecans chopped
  • ½ cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips; plus more for chocolate drizzle
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • salt flakes for finishing

Coconut Carmel Ingredients

  • Coconut Carmel Ingredients
  • ½ cup Earth Balance butter
  • ½ cup coconut sugar*
  • 2 Tbsp coconut nectar*
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ baking soda
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract


  • Cream together the Earth Balance butter and the coconut sugar until fluffy
    Maxine's Turtle Cookies
  • Mix milk and vanilla into the sugar butter mixture
  • In a large mixing bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, and salt
    Maxine's Turtle Cookies
  • Combine dry and wet ingredients and chill dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour
    Maxine's Turtle Cookies
  • Preheat oven to 350 °F
  • Remove dough from refrigerator and roll into 20 small balls
    Maxine's Turtle Cookies
  • Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and put in microwave for 30 seconds then stir; repeat this process until the chocolate is melted and smooth
  • Place pecans in a shallow bowl
    Maxine's Turtle Cookies
  • Roll dough ball in chocolate and then coat in pecans and place on a parchment lined baking sheet
    Maxine's Turtle Cookies
  • Use the back of a teaspoon to make an indention in the balls
    Maxine's Turtle Cookies
  • Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until cookies are set
  • When the cookies come out of the oven gently re-press the indentations with the back of the teaspoon
  • In a small saucepan add the Earth Balance butter coconut sugar, coconut nectar, and salt
    Maxine's Turtle Cookies
  • Bring to a boil stirring constantly; then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 5 minutes without stirring
  • Remove pan from heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla
    Maxine's Turtle Cookies
  • Pour a small spoonful of the caramel into the cookie indentation
    Maxine's Turtle Cookies
  • Drizzle with melted chocolate and sea salt
    Maxine's Turtle Cookies


You can substitute brown sugar for the coconut sugar. You can also use corn syrup in place of the coconut nectar. My stomach is sensitive to sugar so using the coconut alternative is easier on my digestive system.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Bakery, dessert, holiday recipe, vegan, vegan recipes

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag @anothervegan.foodblog on Instagram and hashtag it #anothervegan.foodblog.

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