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!
Turtles - Caramel, Chocolate and Pecans!
- 2 pounds pecan halves, toasted
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 16 ounces milk chocolate or dark chocolate, if you prefer
- On a large greased cookie sheet, or a cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking mat, arrange three or four pecan halves in a circle. Set aside.
- Cut the butter into one tablespoon pieces.
- Put the sugar, salt, butter and corn syrup into a 4-quart saucepan.
- Stir and place over low heat, stirring continuously until boiling.
- Slowly add the heavy cream and continue to stir. At this point, the sugar mixture will be a pale yellow.
- Continue cooking until the thermometer reaches the Soft Ball Stage, which is 250F. The caramel will be a light golden brown and smell like caramel.
- Remove the pan from the stove.
- Add the vanilla and stir only enough to blend.
- Let cool 2-3 minutes.
- Drop by spoonfuls over pecans. I put about a tablespoon of caramel on top of the pecans.
- Put in the refrigerator to cool for about 15 minutes.
- Melt the chocolate. You can melt the chocolate in a double-boiler, or use the microwave. Be careful not to burn the chocolate.
- Remove the chocolate from the heat before it has completely melted and stir until it is completely melted.
- Remove turtles from the refrigerator and spoon the chocolate over each turtle. I use a teaspoon or so of chocolate for each turtle.
- Put the turtles back in the refrigerator for a few minutes until the chocolate sets.
- Remove turtles from the cookie sheet and store in containers with wax paper between layers.