I found this recipe pasted to an index card in an old stainless steel recipe box I bought at a garage sale for $1.

The box was full of cards, most dating back to the 70s, for things like Brown Sugar Spritz, Poor Man’s Cookies, Basic Never-Fail Fudge and Three-Pea Salad.

These Butter Pecan Turtle Cookies had been clipped from a Land O’Lakes butter box, complete with picture. A front AND back index card. Suprising, since the recipe calls for a total of six ingredients. Six.

And then I lost the recipe card, which I had stuck in my back pocket before I went outside to play with my kids. It was worth it. 


Land O’Lakes stills publishes it on their Web site, however. One of the commenters said she’d been using the recipe for 20 years.

It has a brown sugar crust (press-into-the pan no less), covered with pecans, a very thin layer of brown sugar-butter caramel and chocolate chips that melt over the top.

I took half of our batch to my family — having the entire pan in our house would be bad for me. Very bad.

As the thin caramel layer cools, it candies the pecans, which are sandwiched between a simple but delicious crust and a layer of chocolate.

Praline-like, buttery, with crispy, sugared edges, these little fingers are good and rich.

In the midst of writing this post, I re-discovered the recipe card.

In the front yard, half-buried under leaves and only slightly more weathered.

Butter Pecan Turtle Cookies

from Land O’Lakes, makes 36 bars

The recipe below — the original — is written for a 9X13 pan. I halved the recipe and used an 8×8.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup pecan halves (I used chopped)

Caramel Layer

  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet chocolate squares, roughly chopped)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. sea salt (optional, see note below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the crust, combine flour, brown sugar and butter in a large bowl. Beat until mixture becomes fine crumbs (I used a whisk and finished crumbling with my fingers).

Press into bottom of ungreased 9×13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle pecans over crust.

For the caramel layer, combine 2/3 cup butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until surface of caramel begins to bubble. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour evenly over crust and nuts.

Sprinkle sea salt evenly over caramel layer, if using.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until all of the caramel is bubbly. Do not overbake. Remove from the oven and sprinkle chocolate chips or chunks over the caramel. Allow the chocolate to soften (about 3 minutes), then swirl or smooth chocolate over the top.

Cool and cut into squares. Store at room temperature.

Note: I like the contrast between sweet and salty, so I added about 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt over the caramel layer before I popped it into the oven. Next time, I’ll probably sprinkle about 1/2 tsp. of kosher salt over the caramel.