This recipe for chocolate pecan turtles is easy to make. The turtles taste like they are from a confections shop! There are a couple of tricks that make them delicious that I will share with you.
Toast the Pecans
Toast the pecans rather than using raw pecan halves. Toasting them brings out the pecan flavor and makes them more crispy and crunchy. For this recipe, I recommend toasting them in the oven and turning them over after half the time. How do you know which ones you have turned? One trick is to place all the pecans facing either upwards or downwards. Then after half the cooking time, turn the pecans the other way. If one hasn’t been turned, you will see it. In the above photo, I am in the process of turning the pecans so the “bottom” or flat side can toast.
Use a Silicone Mat or Parchment Paper
The caramel in these turtles is very sticky, so always use a silicone mat or parchment paper to prevent sticking. I prefer a silicone mat but parchment paper also works well.
Shape the Pecans Like a Turtle
Use five pecans to make a turtle shape. Point the “head” upward and then add the legs. When I was young, I always thought this candy looked like a turtle and assumed it was the reason it got its name. Today, many people don’t connect the shape of this candy with the name. This is because turtles are also made in round circles with chopped nuts. Personally, I like the traditional turtle shape. To give the turtles the best form, try to use the same sized pecans for each one.
Heat the Caramel
This recipe is easy because it uses caramel cubes. You can count them or weigh them to get the correct amount. A secret to the great taste of these turtles is the caramel because it has cream in it. The cream makes the caramel softer so that it is easier to bite. It also gives the caramel a delicious taste!
Spoon the Caramel Over the Pecans
Evenly divide the caramel between the pecans (eyeball it). Spoon it into the middle of the pecans, where they all meet. If you have some caramel left over, go back over the pecans, spooning the leftover caramel on top of those with the least amount on them. Then harden the caramel by placing the baking sheet into the refrigerator for five to ten minutes.
Add the Chocolate Topping
Using the microwave method outlined in the recipe, melt the chocolate with a small amount of shortening. The shortening will help make the chocolate smooth, consistent, and easy to work with. Place a spoonful of melted chocolate on top of the set caramel. Then use the back of the spoon to make a swirling pattern on top of the chocolate. While the chocolate is still melted, sprinkle a little coarse ground sea salt on each turtle. Let the chocolate sit until it hardens.
Store the turtles in an airtight sealed container, placing parchment paper between each piece and on the bottom of the container. This will keep them from sticking together. Enjoy!