When I told my daughter we were going to make homemade turtles, she asked if they were going to have “feet and arms and a little head poking out.” She thought it was pretty great that we were going to make turtles out of chocolate and caramel.
As I was getting ready to post this, I thought I’d try and find out a history of turtles. Alas, I couldn’t find anything other than that have been made for about two hundred years. (You can read a bit more in this article.)
In any case, turtles are a delicious way to get your calorie count for the day in one pop, and to combine three of my favorite things: pecans, caramel, and chocolate.
I’ve found that people associate turtles with Christmas, but I usually have them for Valentine’s Day.
They are super easy to make. There are tons of recipes out there. All you have to do is check around a bit.
But, since you are reading this, why don’t I tell you how I like to make them? I’m still a novice in dipping chocolates, but I have made turtles several times over the years with good luck.
(Soapbox alert: Please use homemade caramel and real chocolate. Okay?)
1 batch of homemade caramels, slightly undercooked** so they hold a shape, but aren’t too firm
1 pound bittersweet or milk chocolate
1 teaspoon pure vegetable shortening (or a little paraffin wax has also been suggested by readers)
1-1 1/2 pounds whole pecan halves
1. Cut the soft, prepared caramel into small squares and press two pecan halves onto one side. Allow them sit for about 15 minutes so the tops smooth out a bit.
2. Melt the chocolate and shortening together in the microwave on 50% power. (Make sure to keep it at the proper temperature so it doesn’t bloom and give you streaks!)
3. Dip each piece of caramel into the chocolate using a fork with long tines, dragging the bottom against the edge of the bowl and tapping to remove excess chocolate. Carefully place each piece on a piece of waxed paper. Let them cool and harden.
4. Store in a dry, cool place in an airtight container. Place pieced of waxed paper between the layers to prevent them from sticking to each other.
Yield: Varies, but I got between 5-6 dozen out of one batch of caramel and one pound of chocolate.
**One thing to remember is that you have to adjust the cooking temperature according to altitude. When I lived in Utah at a high altitude, I had to cook the caramel to 234°F. When I lived at sea level on the East Coast, I cooked it to 244°F.