Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pecan Turtles

My mom and I could never resist getting a few giant turtles from Hallmark every time we went. The last dozen times I stopped in they didn’t have them - only the little mint melt away drop things with the sprinkles everyone in the family also loved. Having a sudden attack of the handmade turtle munchies I decided to try and create my own. Sure I could have picked up a generic bag from the store, but they aren’t the same and my belly wasn’t going to wait for a special mail order. They turned out beyond amazing. I’m not a professional candy creator so mine aren’t as lovely as the pros, but boy did they get the crave kicking job done. I’m here to share my easy beginner recipe along with some ideas at the end for making them healthier, more professional looking and gifting.

Ingredients
6 ounces pecan halves
11 ounces caramel
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

Directions
First you are going to toast your pecan halves. You can skip this step, but I highly recommend it because it takes the recipe to the next level. Roasted pecans are juicier and have an amazing toasty crispness and flavor. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread all of your pecan halves onto a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. Set them out to cool while you prep your caramel.

In a double broiler begin to melt the caramel and heavy whipping cream. Spray a muffin pan with nonstick baking spray and evenly distribute your toasted pecans into 9 of the muffin cups. When your caramel is melted and smooth, pour an even amount over each of the 9 muffin cups full of pecans. Let it set for one hour. Melt your chocolate in a microwavable safe bowl on medium power for 1 minute, stir and then repeat in 30 second increments, stirring each time until the chocolate is just melted and smooth.

Spoon into each of the muffin cups. The chocolate will be a little harder to spread so just evenly smooth it out with your spoon which will also make cute little dollop swirls. Let the turtles sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, then pop them into the fridge for 30 more minutes. Then, put them into the freezer for 15 minutes. Take them out and with a thin knife, slide the blade between the edge of each turtle and the muffin pan and they will pop right out by the time you reach the bottom. Voila! They are quite large. I’ve been storing mine in the fridge and eating half of one when I get a hankering - usually late at night, but they can be left out at room temperature.


A Note from the Candy-sseur
Find your absolute favorite chocolate and caramel brands. Picking the individual ingredients you like most will make the best overall custom recipe. Making homemade turtles is also a really fun and easy project to enjoy with kids.


Optimum Health Suggestions
*Choose as many organic and all natural products you can find
*Use sugar free ingredients
*Use dark chocolate instead of semi-sweet for a darker treat with less sugar

Alternate Serving Suggestions
*Buy inexpensive tins from your local store, line with wax paper, fill them up and hand out as gifts
*Line your muffin pans with metal foil muffin cups for cleaner carry in party situations
*For a more traditional handmade turtle look, set out your pecans in 9 – 3 inch circles on a greased sheet of wax paper. Carefully pour the caramel over the pecans in dollops, let cool one hour, then carefully pour the chocolate over the pecan and caramel in dollops. Let them set up for a few hours at room temperature.