Easy Chocolate Chip Turtle Cookie Bars: Soft and Chewy Cookie Recipe

Easy Chocolate Chip Turtle Cookie Bars: Soft and Chewy Cookie Recipe

If you’re looking for an inexpensive, but sinfully rich dessert to take to a pitch-in, these easy chocolate chip turtle cookie bars are soft, chewy and full of ooey gooey deliciousness. These cookie bars are so easy to whip up that you can make them the day of the event or you can make them a day or two before. Don’t worry about leftovers – there won’t be any!

A chocolate chip turtle cookie bar pairs perfectly with a tall glass of milk.

My Brainstorm for Easy Chocolate Chip Turtle Cookie Bars

I had a night out this past weekend with my Henryville Foodie group at one of the gal’s houses. She cooked us an amazing dinner with some of the best mac ‘n’ cheese I’ve ever had (if she sees this, maybe she can add the recipe link in the comments for us), BBQ sandwiches and a delicious cake. 

I knew I wanted to take a little something. My parents taught me you show up with something, even if something small. I always enjoy a good cookie bar, and since it’s fall, I thought I’d give it a caramel twist. This was a complete experiment, but these bars turned out amazing! My biggest problem is going to be not cooking them every day, which would completely blow my low carb diet. 

I knew I wanted the bars to be chewy, easy to make and have a bit of salt to them. The natural next thought was salted caramel. I popped up to the store and grabbed a bunch of ingredients and threw together something, hoping it wouldn’t be a bust and thinking I’d just stop and get something ready-made if it was. It’s pretty hard to mess up cookie bars, though, especially if you start with a refrigerated cookie dough base.

I taste-tested the bars and they were yummy, but I wanted feedback from my friends to make sure they were worth sharing on my blog. They all loved the cookie bars, so I’m going to share how I made them. I hope you enjoy these as much as we did. They were so much fun to make, although I didn’t love unwrapping all those Rolos. You may want to enlist help with that part of the recipe!

Ooey gooey plate full of chocolate chip cookie bars from unique dessert recipe.
This plate full of ooey, gooey chocolate chip turtle cookie bars disappeared in a flash.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars Tips

How do I make easy chewy chocolate chip cookie bars?

These cookies are so easy to make, you’ll wonder why you haven’t experimented with cookie bar recipes in the past.

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Butter a baking dish (I prefer glass).
  3. Press refrigerated cookie dough into the bottom of the pan.
  4. Make the edges a bit taller than the center of the cookie. Start in the center and push outward with your fingers.
  5. Push pretzels down into the dough throughout.
  6. Coat the cookie dough with crushed pecans.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes. While backing, unwrap Rolos. Pull cookies out, but leave oven on.
  8. Place Rolos top down into the cookie dough. Space about two inches apart on all sides.
  9. Drizzle with caramel sauce.
  10. Add crushed pretzels and push lightly down with the flat side of a metal spoon.
  11. Return to oven for 10-15  more minutes or until edges are brown and center is cooked.
  12. Pull from oven, allow to cool and cut into squares.
Process photos of making easy chocolate chip cookie bars.
Start with ready-made cookie dough, add embellishments, create deliciousness.

Can I sub in a different type of cookie other than chocolate chip?

Definitely. However, consider the flavor combinations. Salted caramel tastes great with chocolate. If you use a sugar cookie, the flavors will be different. I don’t recommend peanut butter. Oatmeal would be good. 

Someone in my family is allergic to nuts. What should I do?

First, you probably want to make your own cookie dough, because many refrigerated doughs are made in facilities where there are nuts. Second, just leave out the pecans or sub for a nut that you aren’t allergic to.

Do cookie bars need to be refrigerated?

It isn’t necessary. I did pop these in the fridge to cool. I didn’t want them to lose their shape and I wanted them ready for our gathering. However, you can simply wrap them up and leave on the counter.

Do I have to use thin pretzels? 

No. Use whatever you have on hand. I bought the little thin ones because I wanted to poke them down into the dough at different angles. 

Why is the center of my cookie bar batter raw?

I had this problem at first, too. I think I was trying to take the cookies out too soon. With regular cookies, if you leave them in too long, they burn and get too crispy. However, with the cookie bars, you want the edges of the crust to get medium brown. Another option is to remove the outer bars and then return the center portion to the oven for another 10 minutes. 

What if I want to make a bigger batch of cookie bars?

This batch serves 10-12 easily. However, if you’d like to make a bigger batch, you simply have to double or triple the ingredients. Do not double or triple the cooking time. Instead, add five minutes and check to see if edges and center are done. Cooking time doesn’t work like ingredients and doubling cooking time will only give you a burnt batch of cookie bars. 

I want to send a batch of turtle cookie bars to someone in the military. How can I keep them soft and chewy?

This is a great question and something I highly encourage. Our troops sacrifice so much for us and it’s important to remember them, particularly during the holidays when they’re far from family and probably feeling homesick. 

You want the cookies to not break apart and not get stale. Careful packaging and shipping is the key. 

  • Allow bars to cool completely. I would place them in the fridge for an hour.
  • Wrap each bar in plastic wrap, sealing all edges. I honestly love Press ‘n’ Seal for this, but you can use regular plastic wrap, too. 
  • Pack cookies back to back. This gives them some stability because you are placing two bases together.
  • Layer them in a plastic container or tin. Something that seals up tightly. 
  • Fill in any gaps with tissue paper. You don’t want the cookie bars sliding around inside their container.
  • Wrap the tin or plastic container in bubble wrap, place inside a box and ship. They should do just fine.

More Easy Dessert Recipes

You might also enjoy one of these easy dessert recipes:

You May Need

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I prefer a glass baking dish because that’s what I’ve always used. However, I think a stoneware baking pan would give you a nice crispness on the bottom that would mesh well with that gooey cookie center.

Easy Chocolate Chip Turtle Cookie Bars: Soft and Chewy Cookie Recipe

When it comes to cookie bar recipes, this one turned out soft and chewy and satisfied all my cravings for salted caramel and chocolate. These were the perfect cookie bars for a crowd.

Easy Chocolate Chip Turtle Cookie Bars
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins

The perfect combination of sweet, salty chewy and crisp that will warm you from the inside out. Pretzels give the ooey goodness a bit of crunch.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: caramel, chocolate, cookie, dessert, easy
Servings: 12
Author: Crabby Housewife
  • 1 roll Nestle Cookie Dough
  • 1/2 cup crushed pecans
  • 1 cup pretzel thins
  • 20 Rolos
  • 1/4 cup caramel
  • 1 pat butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.

  2. Butter baking dish completely. Pay special attention to corners.

  3. Press cookie dough in bottom of baking dish. Use fingers to press dough out toward edges so it is slightly lower in middle and has a small bumped up edge similar to a pizza crust.

  4. Take pretzel pieces and push them down into the dough at all different angles. There's no particular way to do this. You want people to get a bite of pretzel here and there.

  5. Spread crushed pecans evenly across surface.

  6. Bake for 15 minutes. While baking, unwrap Rolos. Pull out but leave oven on.

  7. Press unwrapped Rolos face down into the cookie dough. Spread so they are about two inches apart on all sides.

  8. Drizzle on caramel sauce.

  9. Top with crushed pretzels.

  10. Use the back of a metal spoon to press the pretzels down into the soft dough. Do this very lightly so as not to smoosh the dough down too much.

  11. Pop back into the oven for another 10 minutes or until edges are brown and middle is cooked through.

  12. Allow to cool and cut into slices. Keep covered until ready to eat.

Try Your Own Experiment with Cookie Bars

I love trying out new things and experimenting in the kitchen. Sometimes I come up with something truly genius, and sometimes my experiments fail and my husband agrees that we shouldn’t try that one again. This particular recipe is one I’ll likely make again and again. I think it would be easy to mix it up a bit, too. Add different pretzels, use cashews instead of pecans, top with some extra chocolate. I might even throw some M&Ms in their next time.

Crabby Housewife

AuthorCrabby Housewife

Lori is a full-time housewife and writer, living in the Midwest with her husband of 27 years - they have two daughters. They have a house full of pets and her house is never quite perfect.