Homemade Turtles

I’ve always loved Turtles and decided to make my own.

Everything tastes better when it’s homemade, even Turtles.

Homemade Turtles - Fast, easy, no-bake and just 4 ingredients! Chewy, gooey, salty-and-sweet! Homemade always tastes better! Yum!!

Lately I can’t get enough of the pecan-caramel-chocolate combination. Crunchy, chewy, salty-and-sweet.

First there was Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars, then The Best Turtle Brownies, and now these.

Homemade Turtles - Fast, easy, no-bake and just 4 ingredients! Chewy, gooey, salty-and-sweet! Homemade always tastes better! Yum!!

I first made Turtles in 2009. Holy antique photography but I don’t delete old posts because they remind me how far I’ve come and how far my daughter has come. She was in cloth diapers then and now she’s in glittery lip gloss.

The Turtles are no-bake, easy, ready in under a half hour, and you only need 4 ingredients.

Homemade Turtles - Fast, easy, no-bake and just 4 ingredients! Chewy, gooey, salty-and-sweet! Homemade always tastes better! Yum!!

I used Trader Joe’s roasted, salted pecan halves. Make piles of about 5 pecans each and top each pile with caramel sauce.

I melted 25 caramel squares with 1/4 cup cream in the micro (or use the stove). Take your time and stop and stir frequently so you don’t burn the mixture and have to start over. The caramel sauce is runny and loose when you first take it out of the micro, but firms up quite a bit as it cools.

Homemade Turtles - Fast, easy, no-bake and just 4 ingredients! Chewy, gooey, salty-and-sweet! Homemade always tastes better! Yum!!

After topping each pecan pile with caramel, cover with melted chocolate. I used Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Bars because they melt smoother and easier than chocolate chips.

Some Turtles are coated with milk chocolate and others with dark. On some I sprinkled sea salt to play up the salty-and-sweet aspect. On some I drizzled milk chocolate over a dark chocolate-coated Turtle and vice versa.

Homemade Turtles - Fast, easy, no-bake and just 4 ingredients! Chewy, gooey, salty-and-sweet! Homemade always tastes better! Yum!!

Between the salty-and-sweet component, the crunchy pecans, chewy and gooey caramel, and the rich chocolate, they’re hard to resist. Save the recipe for holiday candy-making, birthdays, or for a last-minute hostess gift.

Or just hoard them all for yourself.

Homemade Turtles - Fast, easy, no-bake and just 4 ingredients! Chewy, gooey, salty-and-sweet! Homemade always tastes better! Yum!!

Homemade Turtles - Fast, easy, no-bake and just 4 ingredients! Chewy, gooey, salty-and-sweet! Homemade always tastes better! Yum!!

Print Print Recipe

Homemade Turtles

The Turtles are no-bake, easy, ready in under a half hour, and you only need 4 ingredients. Save the recipe for holiday candy-making, birthdays, or for a last-minute hostess gift. Take your time melting the caramels, stopping and stirring frequently so they don't burn. I coated half the batch with dark chocolate and half with milk chocolate. On some I sprinkled sea salt to play up the salty-and-sweet aspect and on others I drizzled milk chocolate over a dark chocolate-coated Turtle and vice versa. Between the salty-and-sweet component, the crunchy pecans, chewy and gooey caramel, and the rich chocolate, they're hard to resist.

Yield: about 27 to 30 med/large Turtles

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Total Time: about 30 minutes, for cooling

Ingredients:

8 ounces pecan halves (I used roasted, lightly salted)
25 caramel squares, unwrapped (about 1 heaping cup)
1/4 cup cream or half-and-half, divided
about 16 ounces roughly chopped chocolate, melted (I used 8 ounces dark and 8 ounces milk, both Trader Joe's Pound Plus bars)
sea salt, optional for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Line two baking sheets or large platters with parchment paper. It's helpful if they will fit in either fridge or freezer.
  2. Make small piles of pecans, using 5 to 6 pieces per pile. Overlap the pecans some to reduce gaps so the caramel doesn't seep through.
  3. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, add the caramels, half of the cream (reserve the remainder), and heat on high power to melt. It will probably take about 3 to 4 minutes total, but you must stop and stir the mixture every 30 seconds so you don't burn it. The first few times, stirring is almost futile but eventually the caramels soften enough to be stirred smooth. Take your time, don't overheat or heat too quickly, and keep stirring; it will come together. If the mixture seems thick and needs more cream, add the remaining amount. I used 1/4 cup total and have made the recipe with both Kraft brand caramels and Werther's Baking Caramels, but caramels vary and you may need less cream than I did. The caramel is runny and loose when it first comes together, but firms up quite a bit as it cools. Alternatively, you can melt caramels on the stove over low heat, using caution and stirring frequently.
  4. Add about 1 tablespoon caramel to the top of each pecan pile; set aside.
  5. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, add 8 ounces chocolate and heat to melt, about 1 minute on high power. Heat in 15-second increments until chocolate can be stirred smooth. I prefer working in smaller batches with chocolate and recommend doing the same and not heating all 16 ounces at once; melt additional chocolate as necessary.
  6. Add about 2 tablespoons chocolate to the top of each pecan cluster by dolloping it on top and letting it fall down the sides.
  7. Optionally add a pinch of sea salt to each Turtle.
  8. Allow Turtles to firm up at room temp (will take many hours) or in the fridge or freezer (about 15 minutes) before serving. Turtles will keep airtight at room temperature for weeks, or in the fridge or freezer for many months. 

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100 Responses to “Homemade Turtles”

  1. #
    51
    Pat Kichinko — August 31, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    1/4 cream or half-and-half. 1/4 of what? 1/4 cup?

    Reply

  2. #
    52
    Jenifer — September 9, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    I know this is probably a dumb question, but when you say square caramels – are you talking the Kraft kind or something else?

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 9th, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      Yes the Kraft, or similar, in the clear cellophane wrappers.

      Reply

  3. #
    53
    Pam — October 17, 2014 at 6:05 am

    I have seen and ate Turtles but not sure if Trader Joe’s chocolate is available in my area, can you suggest an alternative chocolate….would Baker’s chocolate ( that comes in hunks) work? Wanting to put together goodie boxes for holidays and everyone would love these and the no-cook is even better! Thks

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 17th, 2014 at 6:18 am

      Yes Baker’s Chocolate is fine. You want a fairly dark chocolate that melts smoothly. You probably could use chocolate chips, but for these, baking chocolate in hunks is preferred!

      Reply

  4. #
    54
    Lizzie — October 30, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    These were excellent!!! Instead of using parchment paper, I sprayed cupcake tins with some Pam and they turned out amazing! It was a much easier clean up as well. :) Although I did burn a bit of my chocolate while melting it in the microwave, I added some half and half to it and it turned out perfectly! Thanks for the recipe! I think they will be a hit for Halloween tomorrow!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 30th, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      sprayed cupcake tins with some Pam <— great idea and glad that worked out well for you! And glad you were able to save your chocolate. Yes, easy does it with the micro and chocolate. 15-second bursts usually is what I do! Enjoy your treats!

      Reply

  5. #
    55
    Melissa — November 26, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Hi Avery… made these today, when it is cold and snowing at my house. I left them out on the porch to firm up, but even after a few hours out there, the caramel is still pretty gooey/sticky. Is this expected?

    I used the square caramels as indicated in the recipe with 1/4 c heavy whipping cream.

    Thanks for posting this! I hope my mother enjoys her birthday treat!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — November 26th, 2014 at 6:20 pm

      Yes if you know what a real Turtle tastes like, the inside has some looseness to it. I mean it should be as loose as caramel sauce, but it shouldn’t be rock hard. I don’t know if you’ve covered them with chocolate yet but that will encase everything and I think you’ll be set! Happy Bday to you mom!! So nice of you to make these for her!

      Reply

  6. #
    56
    Connie Poiser — December 7, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    help! Made these today and have learned a lot! need to let caramel cool a bit or it runs all over. My question: even after several hours in fridge the caramel sticks to whatever I put them on…..ugh….help! want to give as gifts but not sure how to give them…..thanks!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — December 7th, 2014 at 11:53 pm

      Parchment paper is usually great in situations like this.

      Reply

  7. #
    57
    Alicia — December 8, 2014 at 7:59 am

    This is such a good idea for holiday gifts! I have to advise though, I made the recipe as written twice and both times it was a flop (using two different brands of caramel). The caramel is simply too loose, making it impossible to package them for gifts. It’s too loose to dip entirely even. I ended up melting my caramel in the microwave with no added liquid on the third try and that worked beautifully. Thank you for the inspiration :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — December 8th, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      Sorry the caramel was too runny for you as written. I have made them with Kraft brand and Werther’s brand caramels and both were fine; but caramels vary soooo much in their composition (how much water, sugar, and milk – if any) is included which will impact how runny or loose they are when melted, but it sounds like you figured it out and glad to hear things turned out okay!

      Reply

  8. #
    58
    Lisa — December 10, 2014 at 5:51 am

    Definitely add the cream to the caramel a bit at a time. Mine, like some of the others, is not setting up when prepared as directed. I made five dozen for a swap, trying to decide if it’s ok to give to others in cupcake holders (because of stickiness) or if I should scrap these and start over?

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — December 10th, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      Just put them in cupcake holders! People will love them, it’s homemade, it’s not from a factory, it’s the amazing thought that counts :) Thanks for trying the recipe.

      Reply

  9. #
    59
    Joanne — December 12, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    I made these tonight and they are delicious! My husband loves the store bought Turtles and he said these were way better than store bought! I made some milk chocolate and some white chocolate, as well as some with Score toffee bits sprinkled on top. Yummy! Thanks for the super easy recipe

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — December 12th, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      Glad they were voted way better than storebought! I love all your variations you made! I’d love to sample 1 of each :)

      Reply

  10. #
    60
    Stephanie — December 18, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    I made these but my caramel ran… What did I do wrong?

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — December 18th, 2014 at 7:05 pm

      It was probably on the thin side and you could have used less milk/cream so that it stayed thicker. That’s my guess. Thanks for trying the recipe.

      Reply

  11. #
    61
    Judi — December 20, 2014 at 6:59 am

    I just made turtles last night and I tried two different methods with the pecans, the first was clumping the pecans into mounds as your recipe states.
    The second method is to chop the nuts and cover a parchment lined cookie sheet with them. Pour the carmel on top of the nuts in circles the size you want your turtles to be and then cool (I cooled mine outside). When cool they easily come off the parchment & then can be topped or dipped. I found the second method to be faster & was able to make my turtles all the same size.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — December 20th, 2014 at 8:35 am

      Glad you found a method that worked great for you!

      Reply

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