Homemade Turtles

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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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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