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Kitchen Mailbox: Butter pecan turtle cookies are anything but slow movers

Thursday, July 27, 2000

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Joking aside, these cookies go faster than their name.

Turtle Cookies evoked a number of clever comments from co-workers. "I'm coming out of my shell for one of these cookies," said Pete Zapadka, editor of the PG's Washington edition. Copy editor Jim Heinrich's e-mail read, "Are these mock turtle cookies? They taste like chicken -- only joking, they're delicious."

And here's an opinion from Kitchen Mailbox: If you blink your eyes, these cookies will disappear. Turtle cookies have a buttery crust (we strongly suggest using butter, not margarine), with a layer of caramel, pecans and chocolate. These ingredients all come together to make an irresistible cookie.

Moving on to our next recipe, how can you possibly improve the taste of apple dumplings or apple pie? By using one of our readers' recipes for cinnamon sauce.

We decided to test these sauces on apple dumplings -- we used a Kitchen Mailbox recipe from July 31, 1997, Old-Fashioned Apple Dumplings. And we liked them all.

Carol Gacesa of Cranberry requested a recipe for Turtle Cookies. Here's a version from Fran Hogan of Stowe Township.

Butter Pecan Turtle Cookies

2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup packed brown sugar

Caramel layer:
2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup pecan halves
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To make the crust, in small bowl, mix the flour, butter and brown sugar until the mixture holds together.

Pat in a 9-by-13-inch ungreased pan; spread pecans over crust. In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar and butter, cook until it boils; let mixture boil for 1 minute, pour over pecans. Bake 18 to 22 minutes, or until bubbly (after 15 minutes watch carefully). Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let the chips melt, then swirl the chocolate over the entire surface. Cool completely. Cut into bars. Makes about 3 dozen.

Lois Fitzgerald of Point Breeze asked Kitchen Mailbox for a recipe for cinnamon sauce to pour over apple dumplings and apple pie.

Here are the responses from our readers:

These two recipes were sent in by Helen Lamison of Carnegie.

Sauce for Apple Dumplings 1

1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup boiling water
2 whole cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoon rum (optional)

In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar and cornstarch, add the 1 cup boiling water; let boil for 2 minutes. Then add the cinnamon sticks, butter and rum; stir and serve.

Sauce for Apple Dumplings 2

1 1/2 cups water or apple cider (we used apple juice)
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine water or cider with the brown sugar. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, stir in butter, vanilla and cinnamon.


Mary Ann Book of Whitehall has been using this recipe for more than 20 years. And as she says, "It's so easy and so good!"

Cinnamon Sauce

1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
1 teaspoon or more cinnamon

Allow the ice cream to melt, mix in cinnamon. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Note: Add cinnamon according to your own taste. Try adding 1 teaspoon at a time until you get the desired flavor.

Judy O'Brien of Penn Hills and Helen Ivanusic of Morningside sent us almost identical recipes for cinnamon sauce. The only difference in the recipes is that Judy's recipe calls for 3 tablespoons butter and Helen's calls for 4 tablespoons butter. This sauce is poured over the dumplings before baking.

1 cup sugar
2 cups water
3 or 4 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in saucepan; boil for 3 minutes. Pour over apple dumplings before baking.

Note: The sauce thickens while the dumplings are baking.


Flo Buczkowski of Glenshaw is searching for a cookie that has a slight oval shape. It's similar to a shortbread cookie and has sesame seeds on top.

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number on all correspondence. All recipes are kitchen-tested by the Post-Gazette.

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