This is probably my favorite candy! Make lots because unlike real turtles, they are sure to go fast!!
12 ounces of soft caramels, recipe follows
6 oz (about 1.5 cups) toasted pecan halves
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips
1. Prepare a cookie sheet by covering it with aluminum foil and spraying it with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Arrange the pecans in clusters of 4 with each pecan pointing in a different direction (like turtle legs).
3. Place the caramel in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds.
4. Allow the caramel to cool slightly, then use a spoon to drop a spoonful of caramel over the pecan clusters. They are meant to be a rustic candy, so don’t worry about keeping the turtles round or about having some of the pecans poking through.
5. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave or over a double boiler. Spoon the melted chocolate over the caramel layer.
6. Allow the turtle candies to set fully, either at room temperature or in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week, but bring them to room temperature before serving so the caramel can soften.
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 cup honey (mild honey works best here)
1 cup raw sugar (or granulated sugar)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Special Equipment: 8×8 pan, candy thermometer (optional)
- Line an 8×8 pan with aluminum foil, letting the edges of the foil hang over the side of the pan, and spray with cooking spray, or butter generously.
- Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan.
- Add the honey, sugar, and heavy cream. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has mostly dissolved.
- Turn the heat to medium low. Clip your candy thermometer onto the side of the pan….carefully.
- Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches firm ball stage, which you can determine in one of two ways: a. the mixture reaches 248ºF (give or take a degree or two) on a candy thermometer (it will be marked with “FB” or “firm ball”) or b. Drop a bit of the mixture into a small bowl filled with ice water. It should immediately form a ball that you can squeeze together with your fingers without it dissipating.
- Immediately remove from the heat, quickly stir in the vanilla (it will bubble slightly) and pour the mixture into your greased pan.
- Let cool, lift out of the pan using the foil, then cut into squares and wrap in squares of parchment paper or cellophane.
Note: If you happen to accidentally take your caramels past the firm ball stage (i.e., if the caramel mixture gets a little too hard after it has cooled), remelt the candy over low heat with 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Stir until the mixture is totally combined, then do the ice water test to check the consistency of the mixture (dropping the mixture into cold water is a reliable indicator of what the texture/consistency of the caramels will be when cool). Immediately pour into a newly-foil lined and greased pan, and cool completely.