Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Toasted Pecan Turtles

     I'm on a dessert kick!  Told you I would be:)  This is one of the things I enjoy making for our family's Thanksgiving, although they are probably thought to be more of a Christmas treat.  When I think of homemade candies I usually think of Christmas time, but why wait?  Thanksgiving desserts are all about pumpkin and pecan and cranberry.  While I love those too, somebody has to bring some chocolate, right!?   Leave it to me.  These toasted pecan turtles are the combination of perfection.  They start off with pecans that have been toasted in the oven to bring out an even more nutty, fragrant flavor that is hugged by a dollop of creamy caramel and topped with velvetty semi-sweet chocolate!  They begin to slightly melt in your fingers as you bite into the chewiness of the caramel and chocolate, then find the crunchy pecan bottom. Yuuuummmy!

     These are an easy candy to make.  I don't go by an exact recipe, but I will walk you through it!  There is no way you can't love these pecan turtles.  Enjoy them this holiday season!

Toasted Pecan Turtles

Start off by toasting your pecans in a 350 degree oven for about 5-6 minutes.  All that you do is scatter them out flat on a baking sheet that not greased and put them in the oven.  They can burn quickly, though, so set a timer!  I used 3 pecan halves to one turtle and I made about two dozen turtles.  So I had 72 pecans or almost 1 1/2 cups.

Unwrap your caramels, place them in a glass bowl and add about 1/4 c. evaporated milk.  Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between.  Once melted all the way, stir well until thoroughly combined.

So, lay out a sheet of wax paper on a large cookie sheet...or two small ones.  Important step: Butter these very well so the caramel won't stick.  You must do this, or else you won't be able to lift them off the pan!  Divide pecans on the sheet into groups of three, and put in a "Y" position.  This is the base for your turtle.  Next, pour some of the warm caramel over each pecan cluster - probably about a tablespoon each.  The amount of caramel isn't a big deal, as long as you divide it evenly among them.  Once you've topped them with the caramel, place the baking sheet in the fridge to allow the clusters to cool.

While they are cooling, take your semi-sweet chocolate & chocolate bark, chop them and put 3/4 of it in a glass bowl. (I usually do a ratio of a little more Baker's chocolate to chocolate bark, because it has a better flavor -- the bark helps it to set up better, though.)  Microwave in 25 second intervals, stirring in between everytime.  Chocolate will easily burn, and these intervals and stirring will prevent that.  Once mostly melted, add the last 1/4 of chocolate and put in the microwave once more.  Then stir it very well until the chocolate is perfectly smooth and shiny.

Take out the pecan caramel clusters and pour about 1-2 Tbsp. of chocolate over each one.  You may need to use the spoon to spread it around a bit, but you don't have to completely cover the pecans or caramel.  Once evenly divided, put back in the fridge to cool.  Store in an airtight container with wax paper in between.

Grocery List

1 bag of caramels
evaporated milk
Baker's semi- sweet chocolate baking squares
chocolate bark (chocolate candy coating)

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