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Homemade Caramel Turtles

Lots of people love turtle candies: nuts in caramel then coated in chocolate. I like pecans, but you can use whatever type of nuts you like.

I decided to try to make them myself. This is the recipe I came up with. It's fairly simple but it does take a good amount of time since making caramel can be a slow process.

But these are downright delightful so I think it's worth it.

Makes about 18 Turtles Cals Fat (g)
1/2 Cup Water 0 0
1 Cup Sugar 774 0
3 Tbsp Cream or Half&Half* 60 4.5
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter 204 23
1 Cup Pecan Halves 840 88
4 Oz Semi-sweet Baking Chocolate (not chips**) 568 36.5
2 Oz Unsweetened Baking Chocolate*** 280 28

Total 2624 168.5
Per Piece (18 Total) 146 9.4
* Nutritional information is given for Half&Half instead of Cream.
** Chips have additives and too much sugar so they don't melt as well
*** I think semi-sweet is too thick and too sweet so I mix in some unsweetened. You can go with all semi-sweet if you prefer

    click for a larger image
Prepare the sugar solution as in the Caramel Sauce recipe. Once the sugar solution starts boiling, prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper then placing it in the refrigerator to cool.

Prepare a double boiler to melt the chocolate.

When it comes time to add the cream and butter to the caramel, turn off the heat and add the butter and cream using the amounts from this recipe instead of the Caramel Sauce recipe. Watch out, this will generate a lot of very hot steam.

Stir constantly until the caramel stops bubbling and is smooth.

Note that too little or too much liquid can mean the difference between a hard or soft caramel. If you add more liquid, you could make Caramel Sauce, if you add less you could make nut brittle instead.

If you're not sure how your caramel is going to turn out, spoon a small amount onto a plate and put it in the freezer to cool.

Meanwhile, retrieve the cooled cookie sheet. Spread out the nuts evenly in the center of the sheet.

Check your sample caramel and see how hard it has gotten. if it is too hard, you can stir 1-2 tsp of extra cream into the caramel before moving to the next step.

Pour out the hot caramel onto the nuts.  

Allow the caramel to cool for a few minutes.

Turn off the heat for the chocolate. If it hasn't melted all the way, leave it over the double boiler and the hot water will finish the rest. If it is fully melted, remove the chocolate and allow it to cool.

The caramel should be warm but not hot. It should have thickened enough that the edges can be easily separated from the liner. This will allow it to be handled easily while still being moldable.  

Next we're going to knead the caramel to make sure the nuts are incorporated. You can use rubber gloves and rub a little oil on them, but I found that using your clean hands is the best.

Fold the corners of the caramel towards the center, then apply pressure to flatten it.

Repeat this a few times until the nuts are incorporated, then just mold it into a ball, making sure that the nuts are pretty well covered.  

Start breaking off 1" balls, rolling them in your hands. Flatten them onto the liner with your palms.

When finished, place them in the refrigerator to cool.

When the chocolate is ready, you can start dipping the turtles into the chocolate.  

When you first pull the turtle out of the chocolate it will have quite a bit on it. Let the bigger globs drip off.

Place each dipped turtle onto a parchment lined cooking sheet to cool.

When complete, put the turtles in the refrigerator for an hour to solidify, but do not leave them in any longer or the chocolate may blooming (form a white film on top).

Once fully cooled, you can dump them all into a single container for transporting.

Here you can see some I made, with both semi-sweet and white chocolate.

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