Making homemade chocolate turtles with with pecans and salted caramel is a simple introduction to candy making at home. Plus, who wouldn’t love these homemade turtles as a gift for Valentine’s Day? The turtles don’t have to look perfect and, in fact, their imperfection makes them all the more appealing.
Coming on the heels of my cookiedilla post, you might consider this recipe a little, well, unoriginal. That’s 100% true; it was taken right out of the book Sally’s Candy Addiction. Why? You’ll need to make these turtle candies in order to use them in my original dessert recipe (coming soon).
Let’s Talk Caramel
I’ve made – and burnt – many homemade caramel recipes over the years and I have developed my own favorite caramel recipe. Recently, I’ve been using the caramel recipe found on my salted caramel gooey butter bars as my go-to recipe. It’s a caramel made with white sugar and no corn syrup.
Sally uses her “Caramel for Dipping” recipe for these truffles and I’ve shared it below with permission. Because it uses corn syrup, her caramel ends up a little smoother than mine. It is also far less likely to burn. Yay! In addition to corn syrup, Sally’s caramel uses brown sugar. The combination of sweeteners gives her caramel a very different flavor profile than mine – not better or worse, just different. Try them both and see what you think (since it’s an easier recipe, I suggest that newbies start with Sally’s first).
Homemade Chocolate Turtles Candy
- 1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter slightly softened
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups pecan halves
- caramel from above
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate coarsely chopped
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium heat, combine cream, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt. Stir constantly as the butter melts and sugar dissolves. The mixture will be thick, cloudy, and dull-looking.
Once the butter is completely melted, stop stirring and bring the mixture to a boil. Brush down the side of the pan with a water-moistened pastry brush.
Cook until the caramel reaches 235 F (soft ball stage) on a candy thermometer. When it hits that stage, begin stirring lightly, once every minute. If any candy splashes up the side of the pan, brush it off with a water-moistened pastry brush. The caramel will be begin to thicken. As soon as the caramel reaches 250 F (hard ball stage), remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the vanilla extract.
While caramel cooks slightly, line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Arrange 48 clusters of four pecan halves each, leaving one inch of space between the clusters.
Spoon two teaspoons of the caramel onto the center of each pecan cluster. Let the caramel cool completely to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
Temper the chocolate (see how to temper chocolate for instructions), and spoon one teaspoon of chocolate over the caramel on each turtle. Allow the chocolate to completely set at room temperature (about 45 minutes).