Dulce de Leche Turtle Cookie Bars

These Dulce de Leche Turtle Cookie Bars feature a shortbread cookie crust topped with dulce de leche, pecans and chocolate chips.  Yum!

These Dulce de Leche Turtle Cookie Bars feature a shortbread cookie crust topped with dulce de leche, pecans and chocolate chips.  Yum!I love a good caramel dessert.  Growing up, my Mom used to stock the freezer with Healthy Choice’s Praline and Caramel Ice Cream.  It was quite tasty!  (On a side note, what ever happened to Healthy Choice ice cream?  It just kinda disappeared at some point…)  And come Autumn each year, I always crave a good caramel apple.  These Caramel Apple Tartlets are another favorite dessert, too.  But then I discovered dulce de leche.

These Dulce de Leche Turtle Cookie Bars feature a shortbread cookie crust topped with dulce de leche, pecans and chocolate chips.  Yum!Don’t get me wrong – I still enjoy a good caramel dessert, but dulce de leche takes caramel to a whole new level!  Dulce de leche reminds me of caramel, but just with a more intense flavor.  In fact, dulce de leche is Spanish for “candy of milk.”  That’s pretty much the perfect description!  And it turns out that dulce de leche is actually insanely easy to make at home.

Sure, you can make dulce de leche the traditional way on the stovetop – it involves stirring the mixture until your arm falls off.  Or you can just put an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk it in a slow cooker for 8 hours.  Let that can cool off and then pop it open – you’ll have 1¼ cups of dulce de leche!  (And since the can is unopened, it’s actually shelf stable for several months.  However, if you’re anything like me, then you won’t have the willpower to let that can sit there for more than a couple of days!)

These Dulce de Leche Turtle Cookie Bars feature a shortbread cookie crust topped with dulce de leche, pecans and chocolate chips.  Yum!Dulce de Leche Turtle Cookie Bars

Robbie and I were talking about making cookies recently, and I starting wondering what would happen if I made turtle cookies but with dulce de leche instead of caramel.  It turns out the result is fantastically addicting.  Turtle flavored desserts are ones that combine pecans, chocolate and caramel.  Since caramel is so closely related to dulce de leche, it’s not a far jump to use dulce de leche instead.  Let me tell ‘ya – these Dulce de Leche Turtle Cookie Bars didn’t last long around here!

These Dulce de Leche Turtle Cookie Bars feature a shortbread cookie crust topped with dulce de leche, pecans and chocolate chips.  Yum!For these Dulce de Leche Turtle Cookie Bars, I started with a classic shortbread base – although I did use brown sugar instead of white sugar for a fun twist.  Once that base gets baked up, then you’re ready for the good stuff!  Spread the dulce de leche mixture on top and then sprinkle on chopped pecans and chocolate chips.  Back in the oven for a bit, and then you’ll be all done.

These cookie bars might sound fancy, but they are actually incredibly easy to make.  The only challenge is planning ahead to make the dulce de leche.  Oh, and then waiting until these bars cool off enough to slice ’em up.  (Pro tip – once the baking pan cools off slightly, toss it in the fridge so that it finishes cooling off even faster.)

These Dulce de Leche Turtle Cookie Bars feature a shortbread cookie crust topped with dulce de leche, pecans and chocolate chips.  Yum!If you enjoy caramel desserts, then you’ll love these Dulce de Leche Turtle Cookie Bars!  Cheers, friends!

Did you make a batch of these Dulce de Leche Turtle Cookie Bars at home?  Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – if they last long enough to get a photo!

These Dulce de Leche Turtle Cookie Bars feature a shortbread cookie crust topped with dulce de leche, pecans and chocolate chips.  Yum!

Dulce de Leche Cookie Bars

These Dulce de Leche Turtle Cookie Bars feature a shortbread cookie crust topped with dulce de leche, pecans and chocolate chips.  Yum!
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 18 bars
Calories: 188kcal

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
  • ¼ tsp salt

For the Toppings

  • cups dulce de leche see note
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans

Instructions

For the Crust

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Line a 9” square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving extra overhang on edges. (Note: The overhang will make lifting the bars out easier.) Spray the parchment or foil with nonstick baking spray. Set pan aside.
  • Using a medium bowl, add all of the ingredients (flour, brown sugar, butter and salt); stir until well combined. (Note: The mixture will resemble coarse crumbs.)
  • Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove pan from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

For the Toppings

  • Using a medium bowl, add dulce de leche, heavy whipping cream, egg yolks and vanilla extract; stir until well combined. Pour mixture over crust.
  • Sprinkle chocolate chips and chopped pecans on top of the dulce de leche mixture.
  • Bake for 20-22 more minutes, or until set.
  • Remove pan from oven and let cool completely before cutting into bars.

Notes

1¼ cups of dulce de leche is the amount that comes from (1) 14-oz can of sweetened condensed milk. I recommend this guide from Serious Eats for making dulce de leche using sweetened condensed milk. Just remember that it will take 2-3 hours, so this needs to be done in advance of making the bars.

These Dulce de Leche Turtle Cookie Bars feature a shortbread cookie crust topped with dulce de leche, pecans and chocolate chips.  Yum!

Looking for more tasty dulce de leche and caramel desserts?  Check out these other favorites:

Homemade caramel apples are an easy and fun seasonal treat! Grab some juicy apples and top them with caramel, chocolate and chopped nuts.Homemade Caramel Apples

Medovik, also known as Czech Honey Cake, is a popular (and delicious) sweet treat.  There are 15 layers of goodness on this dessert...take a bite today!Medovik (Czech Honey Cake)

Packed with flavorful apples and topped with delicious caramel, these Caramel Apple Tartlets are a great baking project for Autumn!Caramel Apple Tartlets

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22 Comments

  1. Will be making this soon can i use vegan butter coconut cream as am dairy free do you have dulce de leche recipe on your website if not pl make it so i can make it myself perfect for my office snacks will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya

    1. Hey Ramya! I don’t have much experience in dairy-free baking. I know some dairy products can be easily substituted while others are a bit more challenging. Certain items behave differently in the oven! If you do try these out with a dairy-free twist, let me know. There might be other readers who would appreciate the notes! 🙂

    1. Oh these cookies truly are delicious, Kathy. They wouldn’t be safe in your kitchen! And now I’m wondering what other caramel recipes I have where I can sub in dulce de leche instead…yum!

  2. 5 stars
    Ooo David, I’m speechless! You know how I feel about dulce de leche, right? Please admit you developed this recipe specially for me! I will definitely try this one. But keeping a can of dulce de leche for a couple of days? You really got some willpower. I’d say it often could last no longer than a day in my case haha.

    1. I do indeed know how you feel about dulce de leche, Ben! In fact, I remember you telling the story about the uh, “mishap” you had with a can of dulce de leche. 🙂

      These cookies are right up your alley – you should make a batch for this weekend! The challenge will be to make it last more than one day. Do you accept this challenge?

  3. 5 stars
    Yum! These look absolutely amazing David. I’m such a fan of the turtle flavor, and using dulce de leche is such a great twist! Also, never knew about the sweetened condensed milk in the slow cooker method, I’ll have to try it. These bars are literally perfection, wish I had one now!

    1. I love turtle everything, too, Shannon! Whoever came up with the combination of caramel + chocolate + pecans is a genius. 🙂 And switching out the caramel for dulce de leche? Oh man. Just be careful – these bars disappear like magic! Do try out the slow cooker method for dulce de leche – I was literally shocked when I opened the can. (Just make sure to let the can cool first!)

  4. these look so beautiful david and so delicious. i think everyone in the whole wide world loves dulce de leche. i mean who wouldn’t? 🙂

    1. You make a good point, Sherry – how can you not enjoy the flavors of dulce de leche!? And these cookies? Well they didn’t last long here! 🙂

  5. So next time we visit – can we have these bars, please? Oh gosh – these are simply mouthwatering! And dang – I didn’t even notice the disappearance of Healthy Choice ice cream! I need to keep better track of the goings-on in the freezer dessert section – speaking of which, have y’all tried any of the frozen Cinnabun treats yet? I’m scared to cos if I like them – they are too easy to bring home and become addicted to!

    1. Deal! I’ll be happy to make a batch of these bars next time we hang out – they’re really not too hard at all. The problem is I’ll have to keep from eating the whole batch first!

      I haven’t seen the frozen Cinnabun treats. That is a little scary…easy cinnamon rolls ready to go? That’s one of my biggest weaknesses!

    1. Thanks so much for the note about the new site, Nicole – I figured it was time for a facelift! 🙂

      As far as these dulce de leche bars? Oh man, these are awesome! Just don’t expect any leftovers. Haha! Plus, dulce de leche is so easy to make at home. In fact, it’s almost dangerous to learn how easy it is!

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