Turtle candy, a.k.a Turtles, are pecans covered in soft, chewy caramel then topped with chocolate. They are so good!
Turtles are another Christmas candy that Mom would always have on hand. She would give each of us a bag of turtles for Christmas. Turtles will always make me think of my Mother.
Turtles are typically made with pecan halves. I usually use pecan pieces, and it works just fine. Some people shape the pecans to look like a turtle, hence the name. One pecan is used for each leg and one pecan is used for the head/neck. The caramel and chocolate become the body. When turtle candy is shaped like a turtle, it is too big of a piece of candy for me.
When I make turtles, I like the place three pecans together, touching, on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat. The turtles are around 2-inches in diameter when using just three pecan pieces. I use the larger of the pecan pieces. I prefer the pecans to be enclosed by the caramel then the chocolate to cover the caramel. The turtles are 3-4 bites and, for me, are not too much sweetness.
When you make turtles, shape them in any way that makes you happy! 🙂
When placing pecans on the baking sheet, I like to make sure they are touching, so that when you pour the caramel over them, they form a sturdy base.
The most challenging thing about making turtles is making the soft, chewy caramel, and it is more time consuming that challenging. The caramel slowly boils on the stove until it reaches the soft ball stage, which is 250F. For me, it takes about 30 minutes. Depending on your stove and temperature, it could be more or less for you. I use two thermometers as safeguard to make sure the caramel is reaching the desired temperature. If you don't have a thermometer, you can drop a small amount of caramel into a bowl of cold water. If the caramel forms a soft ball, then you are at the right temperature. I have never used the water method. I have always used candy thermometers.
Let the caramel cool for 2-3 minutes before putting it over the pecans. If it is too thin, it will spread out and not stay on top of the pecans. The caramel thickens and sets as it cools. So, don't dawdle when putting the caramel over the pecans. I use about one tablespoon of caramel per turtle when I pour it over the pecans.
You can refrigerate the turtles so the caramel sets up faster, or let the caramel set up on your counter. Once the caramel is set, melt the chocolate in the microwave or double boiler. Be careful not to burn the chocolate. Spoon a teaspoon or so of chocolate over each turtle. Let the chocolate set by either refrigerating or letting it set on your counter.
Store the turtles, in layers, on wax paper in plastic counters.
I hope you enjoy!