Chocolate turtle thumbprint cookies

I was definitely thinking about how this blog came together when I conceptualizing this recipe. So right after I graduated college, I was approached by somebody to work in what sounded like a really exciting project: a YouTube channel featuring dessert videos. I won’t get into too many more details on it, because it was a very frustrating experience, but what I realized that I did love from that process was conceptualizing desserts that are fun, whimsical, and creative. And I also realized that I could cut the dead weight from my life. It was shortly after pulling away from that failed YouTube channel that I revamped Freddy’s Harajuku, since the timing worked out perfectly, and I hadn’t stopped writing recipes since(except when I was away for filming Masterchef season 10, but besides that, I would pretty proudly say I have been consistently posting).

So how does that little anecdote/rant/life lesson on not wasting your time on useless people tie into this recipe? Well, on the topic of whimsical desserts, this dessert definitely is indicative of my style, combining different points on nostalgia with some fun ingredients. We’re taking chocolate turtles and thumbprint cookies, and putting them together in a way that is almost reminiscent of the tagalong Girlscout cookie. We have a chocolate cookie embedded with blonde chocolate and pecan pieces, as well as chocolate truffle, with a gooey fleur de sel salted caramel pressed into the center of the cookie, covered in dark chocolate. And it’s fun because the cookies actually are designed to resemble turtles too! When I saw the final result, I couldn’t help but think about how Freddy’s Harajuku first started, and how happy I am to have to come so far from essentially being somebody else’s doormat to pursuing my own ventures. I made this blog as a fun, safe place for me to just express myself, and to make food that is either super pretty and elegant, or artistically creative and adorable. I think it’s important as a baker to have your own trademark or your own style, and I can pretty proudly say that upon looking at these cookies, you can tell that they are a Freddy’s Harajuku creation. Quirky, endearing, but still gourmet, with every layer having some thought put behind it.

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Makes eight cookies:
For the cookie dough:
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon frangelico or creme di cacao
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans + whole pecans for garnish
1/2 cup blonde chocolate, roughly chopped
chocolate truffle filling

Cream together butter, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar, the liquor, and vanilla for about 10 minutes, or until light and airy. Sift your flour and cocoa powder. Fold together everything, and scoop into eight cookies across two lined half sheet trays. Press five whole pecans into each cookie to form the limbs and head of the turtle. Press down an indent in the center of each cookie as well, as this will form your “thumbprint” for the caramel filling. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes, rotating 7 minutes into the bake to guarantee even baking across all of your cookies. Cool down completely before spooning in the caramel. Once the caramel is added, freeze for at least 1 hour, or until solidified, before attempting to dip into the chocolate.

For the chocolate truffle filling:
1/2 cup dark chocolate
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon frangelico or creme di cacao

Melt together everything on a double boiler. Transfer to a shallow lined surface and freeze for at least 2 hours. Dice up, and allow to continue freezing until it is time to fold into the cookies.

For the salted caramel:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
water

Heat sugar and fleur de sel in a nonstick pot until the sugars begin to turn brown. Break with the cream and butter, and add any additional water to get any sugar crystals submerged in liquid. Reduce on low heat, stirring very occasionally to prevent crystallization, just so that everything is properly incorporated. Pass through a sieve and allow to cool down slightly(the exterior of the bowl should be warm, but not too hot to handle), before spooning into the indents of every cookie.

For the chocolate shell:
2/3 cups dark chocolate chips
1 teaspoon coconut oil
a pinch of salt

Melt together over a double boiler. Dip the frozen cookies, indent side down, into the chocolate, just to cover the backs with chocolate. Allow the cookies to thaw in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before serving.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Tessa Ferrone says:

    Hey Fred! I will definitely be trying this recipe! I wanted to let you know that when I saw you on Masterchef I thought you totally deserved to win. You are my favourite Masterchef contestant ever! Not only did I love your ideas, but also your personality. You were so kind and bubbly and watching you always made me smile. (Also sorry if it says I’ve commented this multiple times, I wasn’t sure if it had been going through)

    Liked by 1 person

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