Vegan Baking and Sweets/ Vegan Cookies and Bars/ Vegan Desserts/ Vegan Recipes

Mom’s Turtle Cookie Squares

Turtle Cookie Squares from Laura Theodore

For years, my mom has been making a dairy-based version of classic turtle cookies for the holidays. Several years ago we decided to create a vegan version, which is as good as—or maybe even better than—the original recipe. Recipe and photo from Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites by Laura Theodore, reprinted by permission.

Makes 16 to 20 cookies


  • ½ cup vegan margarine, such as Earth Balance
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup pecan halves


  • 2/3 cup vegan margarine, such as Earth Balance
  • ½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed


  • 1½ cups vegan chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. To make the crust, put ½ cup vegan margarine, 1 cup brown sugar, and flour in a high-performance blending appliance and process until particles are fine, forming a loose dough. Pour into a nonstick, ungreased 8 x 12 inch baking pan. Press the dough into an even layer, using your hands. Arrange the pecan halves evenly over the unbaked crust.

To make the filling, put ⅔ cup vegan margarine and ½ cup brown sugar in a small sauce pan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to bubble. Pour the hot filling over the pecans and crust. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 18 to 20 minutes until the pecans are slightly golden.

Put the pan on a wire rack and immediately pour the vegan chocolate chips over the pecans and filling. As the chips melt, spread the chocolate evenly over the top of the pecans and filling. (If the chocolate chips do not melt completely, put the pan back in the oven for 30 seconds to 1 minute to melt.)

Turtle Cookie Squares from Laura Theodore

Cool for 30 minutes and cut into 16 to 20 cookie squares. Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the cookies will keep for 4 days.

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  • Reply
    December 22, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Hmm, this made an oily mess. I poured the caramel onto the base, baked for 20 minutes – it was all bubbly on top – took it out and sprinkled the chocolate chips on, but basically they just sank into the liquid caramel layer; there was no spreading that; and when they did melt there was a layer of oil on top. I followed the recipe to the letter!

    • Reply
      December 28, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      Jane, sorry for the delayed response, and also sorry that this didn’t work out for you. I’ll try to get the recipe’s author, Laura Theodore, to respond to you and see if we can’ figure out why it didn’t work.

  • Reply
    June 16, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    I would like Jazzy Vegetarian chocolate caramel Turtles recipe

    • Reply
      June 16, 2016 at 9:09 pm

      John, this is actually the recipe by Laura Theodore. We had inadvertently left out the credit, which has been added. Enjoy!

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