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Homemade Chocolate Turtles Recipe – An Easy To Make Candy Recipe

Now that baking season is among us, I thought I would share one of my favorite Christmas cookie tray recipes, Homemade Chocolate Turtles. Chocolate covered, chewy caramels filled with chopped pecans that make the perfect combination to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.

Although they look like a difficult candy to make, they are actually easy to prepare. In fact, with just a few simple store bought ingredients you can have this chocolate delicacy made with very little hands on time required.

However, you will have to be patient during the process. Once you mix the ingredients to make the caramel and pecan mounds, they need time to harden.

homemade chocolate turtles
Chocolate coated caramels filled with chopped pecans. An excellent addition to any Christmas Cookie tray or to give as an edible gift to friends and family.

Then you will dip them in melted chocolate and again return them to a baking sheet to allow the chocolate to set. Although you must wait before sinking your teeth into this classic homemade confection, it is well worth it!

The mounds of chocolate pecan caramels make a great addition to any Christmas cookie tray. However, they also make for a terrific edible gift as well.

We have given them as part of our Christmas Crates filled with homemade gifts and they are always the first item that is enjoyed right away. In addition, we have also made them and packaged them in decorative plastic bags and given them to neighbors, friends and service workers around the holidays.

The Difference Between Chocolate Turtles And Bear Claws

Depending on where you live in the country, you may have seen similar chocolate covered caramels that are termed Bear Claws. I am not referring to the popular pastries filled with almond paste that resemble the toes of a bear.

Instead, I am talking about chewy caramel candies with a top chocolate coating and nuts added to the side or top of the candy. Although they are designed to look like the claw of a bear, the ingredients of the two candies are essentially the same.

The original homemade chocolate candy turtles originated in the early 1900s when a patron who visited a candy shop mentioned that the newly made candies looked like the shape of a turtle.

chocolate turtle candies
If you want to take the extra time to make the chocolate covered candies look like turtles, you can definitely do so.

Although it was unintentional the term stuck and today the name is trademarked by DeMet’s Candy Company. However, in Canada they are sold under the Nestle brand name.

However today, in many candy shops, you can find the chocolate caramels intentionally made to look like real turtles. They do this by strategically placing the pecans to look like the feet and head of a turtle.

Although for me, especially during the holidays, I prefer to make life simple and mix everything together.

How to Make Homemade Chocolate Candy Turtles

*Complete recipe instructions including specific measurements, cook temperatures and times are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to keep reading for helpful tips and tricks when making this recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups pecan halves, toasted
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • Flake salt (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Before making your homemade chocolate turtles, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.

Then finely chop 1 cup of pecan pieces, leaving the remaining 1 cup in larger size pieces. Set the nuts aside while you prepare the caramel.

homemade caramel
Be sure to have the pecans chopped and ready because the caramel mixture will come together quickly.

In a medium size saucepan, add the brown sugar, condensed milk, corn syrup, butter, and salt and stir. Place the pan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.

Continue to boil until the mixture reaches 240°F (115°C) when checked with a candy thermometer. Depending on your stove, this could take 5-10 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and baking soda. When you add the baking soda the mixture will bubble up significantly. This is normal.

Add the chopped and larger pecan pieces to the mixture and stir for one minute. You want the caramel to begin to slightly thicken.

Then quickly use a spoon or a large cookie scoop to scoop 2 tablespoons of the caramel pecan mixture out of the pan. Place the mound on the prepared baking sheet.

Continue to scoop out the mixture in separate mounds leaving 1/2 inch space from each other. You should have enough to make 12 homemade chocolate turtles.

Transfer the baking sheet to the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Once the mounds of caramel and pecans are set you are ready to dip them in chocolate.

melting chocolate
Use a double broiler or melt the chocolate in the microwave just until smooth. Then dip the caramel pieces in the chocolate until well coated.

Coat The Turtles In Chocolate

Melt the chocolate over a double broiler or in the microwave until just smooth. Then working one at a time dip each caramel pecan mound in the chocolate.

Be sure to flip them over so that the chocolate coats the entire surface area. Then use a fork to remove the mound out of the chocolate, letting the excess drip back in the bowl.

Place the chocolate coated candy back on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pieces.

Once all turtles are coated in the chocolate, return the baking sheet to the refrigerator to harden for another 30 minutes.

When the chocolate hardens and is set, remove the pieces of candy and place in a covered container. It is best to store the turtles in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Christmas cookie Tray
Chocolate turtles make a great addition to any Christmas Cookie Tray.

Other Popular Christmas Cookie Tray Recipes

If you are looking for other delicious candy and cookie recipes in addition to these homemade chocolate turtles to add to your Christmas Cookie Trays, be sure to check out some of our favorites that we make each year.

Enjoy!

Mary and Jim

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Chocolate Turtle Candies

homemade chocolate turtles

Classic chocolate covered caramel and pecan mounds. The perfect addition to any Christmas Cookie Tray!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pecan pieces
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, set aside. Finely chop 1 cup pecans pieces, leaving the remaining 1 cup in larger pieces.
  2. In a medium size saucepan, add the brown sugar, condensed milk, corn syrup, butter, and salt and stir. Place over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue to boil until the mixture reaches 240°F (115°C) when checked with a candy thermometer (approximately 5 minutes).
  3. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and baking soda. *The mixture will bubble.
  4. Add chopped and whole pecan halves and stir for one minute until caramel begins to slightly thicken. Quickly use a spoon or a large cookie scoop to scoop 2 tablespoons of the caramel pecan mixture in a mound on the prepared baking sheet. Continue until you have approximately 12 mounds.
  5. Transfer the baking sheet to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  6. Melt the chocolate over a double broiler or in the microwave until just smooth. Dip each caramel pecan mound in the chocolate, flipping it over so it coats the entire surface area. Use a fork to remove the mound out of the chocolate, letting the excess drizzle back in the bowl. Place the candy back on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pieces.
  7. Once all turtles are coated in the chocolate, return baking sheet to refrigerator to harden for another 30 minutes.
  8. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Notes

Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled if desired. However, be sure to work quickly placing the caramel mounds on the prepared baking sheet.

Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1 turtle

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 387Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 62mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 3gSugar: 39gProtein: 4g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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