Creamy caramel, toasted pecans and velvety chocolate… heaven! These turtles are fun to make and even more fun to eat! They are definitely time consuming and not for the faint of heart, however, nothing beats the taste of turtles made with homemade caramel and dipped by hand. This was the first time I’ve attempted making these on my own… it’s been a lonely candy making year for me living so far away from my mom and sisters. Boo hoo! On the other hand though, it has been rather exhilarating to attempt everything on my own…and have it work out deliciously! So here is Brittany’s tutorial on making your very own turtles – a treat you can really brag about to your family and friends! :) Turtles
submitted by Brittany
9×13 inch pan of homemade caramels, cut into 1 inch square pieces
toasted whole pecans
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 Tb shortening
For me the key of happy candy making is not to let it go on too long! So I would suggest making the caramel and toasting the pecans on day one. Then the next day you can jump right into making your turtles!
Step 1: Make your caramel. Click on this link: Homemade Caramels. Place somewhere cool until you’re ready to cut up and use. **Make sure your caramel is the right consistency. You want it soft enough to easily cut and form around pecans. However, too soft and it will be difficult to use and may start to melt when you’re dipping your turtles! I’m at sea level and 240 degrees was perfect. (However, it seems candy thermometers are often a little off by a few degrees!) I would err on the side of softness, however, because there are two things you can do to help that. First, if it’s way too soft, you can place the entire thing back into your pot and boil down again to a hotter temperature (which makes it harder). This doesn’t affect the taste or texture at all and is fairly easy to do. Secondly, if it’s just a little too soft, proceed with your turtles but directly after dipping in chocolate, place the turtles in the frig or somewhere cool to cool them quickly. This stops the chocolate from further softening your caramel as it cools. (This actually happened to me so my turtles were all a little flattened out! They still taste awesome though! Definitely softer caramel is better tasting than harder caramel in turtles.) If your caramel turns out too hard to use for turtles, don’t throw them away! My first batch of caramel this season were a little hard (I couldn’t find my thermometer) but I wrapped them up and they taste great plain! Or you can dip them in chocolate without the pecan – a favorite of my own hubby.
Step 2: Toast the pecans. Measure out as many pecans as you want to make turtles. Make sure they are whole pecan halves. I did about 2-3 cups (which used 2/3 a pan of caramel) Pour your pecans in a skillet over medium heat. Toast, stirring occasionally, until pecans are fragrant and turn darker brown. Set aside.
Step 3: Cut caramel into 1 inch pieces. Invert 9×13 pan over large cutting board and carefully remove caramel from pan onto cutting board. Use a metal spatula to scrape under caramel to help it out of the pan. (If your caramel is a little harder than you planned on, you may need to place it in an inch or two or hot water for a few minutes prior to this to loosen it a bit.) Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, slice in 1 inch strips then cut into 1 inch pieces.
Step 4: Assemble turtles. Place a piece of caramel over each pecan and gently press down so they stick firmly together.
Step 5: Melt chocolate. Place chocolate chips and shortening in glass bowl and microwave for one minute on 70% power. Stir gently until melted. You may need another 30 seconds in the microwave. Place in preheated mini crockpot to keep melted during dipping. The other options are to melt over a double boiler or in a fondue pot. The shortening thins the chocolate so it’s easier to dip and also gives it a little shine.
Step 6: Dip your turtles. I think the easiest way to dip is to use a toothpick. Stab each caramel/pecan with a toothpick and dip in chocolate. Gently tap against side to remove excess chocolate and place on wax paper or Silpat by gently twisting toothpick, if needed, to loosen from caramel. Dip quickly or the hot chocolate will cause the caramel to soften and fall off your toothpick! Sometimes the toothpick indention will cause a hole to appear in chocolate… once in a while go back and swirl tops of turtles lightly with toothpick to fill in hole. Don’t worry, after a dozen or so you will get the hang of it and it will go much quicker!
Once the turtles have hardened store in an airtight container somewhere cool – like the garage or storage room in your basement. Now you have another gourmet and delicious homemade treat to arrange on a Christmas platter for your Christmas Eve program or the inevitable parties galore!! Enjoy!