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Homemade Chocolate Turtles

Recipe Level: Moderate to Advanced

These homemade chocolate turtles are chocolatey, velvety smooth with a creamy caramel and a nutty bite. What sets these turtles apart is the filling. The caramel is made with a combination of sugar, cream and honey, and it's simply irresistible!

Baked by Alie Romano

Professional Baker and Recipe Developer

* Make sure to read the entire article. Every step matters, and I’ll provide helpful tips along the way!

Homemade Chocolate Turtles

Have you ever made anything that just blows you away? That you just can’t believe you made it and it tastes that good? Well you’re about to! These homemade chocolate turtles are the best turtles you will ever have, and every year your friends and family will be asking you to make them again and again! That’s when you know you have a winner of a recipe!

I first learned how to make these in school at my chocolatier class. Since then I’ve been making these homemade turtles over the holidays as a special treat and if I miss a year – well I hear about it!

Homemade Chocolate Turtles
Homemade Chocolate Turtles

Tools to Make Homemade Chocolate Turtles

When it comes to making candy and chocolate it’s important to have the right tools. It makes a big difference in making your life a whole lot easier! I won’t lie to you, it can be a challenge to temper chocolate but the more you do it, the better you’ll get and it’s worth it! My chef in school would always say “chocolate knows when you are having a bad day, and it will show in the end results”. And she’s right! Tempering chocolate takes patience and needs your full attention but don’t let that stop you as it’s also so, so rewarding. Here are the top tools that will help you along the way.

Ingredients

When it comes to making homemade turtles the quality of the ingredients is of the absolute most importance. If you cheap out on the chocolate it will make a big difference or if you use a honey that you don’t love the flavour of you’ll notice it in every bite! Making turtles is a special treat so go all out and buy the best quality you can afford!

Homemade Chocolate Turtles
Homemade Chocolate Turtles

What Does Tempering Chocolate Mean?

Tempering chocolate means the heating and cooling of chocolate. When done properly the chocolate will be stable, hard, have a nice snap and will have a smooth, glossy finish with a nice colour. When tempered incorrectly the chocolate will be brittle, have a dull surface (or no gloss), a fast melting point and may have white streaks throughout. Unfortunately you will not be able to tell if the temperatures were correct until the chocolate has set completely.

Guidelines for Tempered Chocolate

  • Dark Chocolate – 32-33˚C (90-91.5˚F)
  • Milk Chocolate – 31-32˚C (88-90˚F)
  • White Chocolate- 30-21˚C (86-88˚F)

How to Make Chocolate Turtles

Step One: Spread pecans out in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast pecans until fragrant and lightly browned. In a heavy pot combine sugar, salt, cream and honey (and corn syrup if using). Allow to cook until the mixture reaches more than 112˚C then add the butter, stir to combine. Continue to cook until caramel reaches 117˚C. Add the vanilla and swirl it in just before you take it off the heat. To test if the caramel is at the right stage drop a spoonful of caramel into a glass of cold water. The caramel will set immediately and you will be able to see the consistency.  The caramel should be soft but should not spread. Set the caramel aside to cool.

Step Two: Arrange toasted pecans into groups of 3-4 onto baking sheets (you may need 2 – 3 pans or you can use cutting boards). Once the caramel is almost completely cool spoon caramel onto the centre of each pecan group. You can also roll the caramel into balls and flatten into discs. Then place them onto the pecan groupings. The caramel should soften onto the nuts. Let the caramel and nuts set before moving.

Homemade Chocolate Turtles

Step Three: Melt (temper) chocolate. Chop chocolate into small pieces and place into a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl on a pot of simmering water. Slowly melt chocolate, do not exceed a temperature over 45˚C. Once chocolate is melted cool chocolate to 31-30˚C. Then place one grouping of pecan/caramel turtles on a dipping fork and drop into the melted chocolate. Coat the entire surface and shake off any extra chocolate. Set the turtle onto a cooling rack to air dry. Repeat with all the turtles.

Homemade Chocolate Turtles
Homemade Chocolate Turtles
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Homemade Turtles

These homemade chocolate turtles are the real deal and dare I say even better than Nestles version! They are chocolatey, velvety smooth with a creamy caramel and a nutty bite. What sets these turtles apart is the filling. The caramel is made with a combination of sugar, cream and honey, and is simply irresistible!

  • Author: Alie Romano
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 45 1x
  • Category: Candy
  • Cuisine: America

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 250 g granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 218.75 ml 35% cream
  • 125 g honey (or 62.5 g honey and 62.5 g corn syrup)
  • 62.5 g unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 300 g toasted pecans (approx. 180 pecans)
  • 300 g milk chocolate (good quality)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spread pecans out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast pecans for 7-10 minutes, flipping pecans over halfway through baking time. Let pecans cool and set aside.
  2. In a heavy pot combine sugar, salt, cream and honey (and corn syrup if using). Allow to cook until the mixture reaches more than 112˚C then add the butter, stir to combine.
  3. Continue to cook until caramel reaches 117˚C. Add the vanilla and swirl it in just before you take it off the heat. To test if the caramel is at the right stage drop a spoonful of caramel into a glass of cold water. The caramel will set immediately and you will be able to see the consistency.  The caramel should be soft but should not spread. Set the caramel aside to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, arrange toasted pecans into groups of 3-4 onto baking sheets (you may need 2 – 3 pans or you can use cutting boards). 
  5. Once the caramel is almost completely cool spoon caramel onto the centre of each pecan group. You can also roll the caramel into balls and flatten into discs. Then place them onto the pecan groupings. The caramel should soften onto the nuts. Let the caramel and nuts set before moving.
  6. Meanwhile melt (temper) chocolate. Chop chocolate into small pieces and place into a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl on a pot of simmering water but don’t let the water touch the bowl. Slowly melt chocolate, do not exceed a temperature over 45˚C. Once chocolate is melted cool chocolate to 31-30˚C.
  7. Lay out sheets of wax paper and cooling racks. 
  8. Place one grouping of pecan/caramel turtles on a dipping fork and drop into the melted chocolate. Coat the entire surface and shake off any extra chocolate. Set the turtle onto the prepared cooling rack to air dry. Repeat with all the turtles. Note: You may need to reheat /melt the chocolate, if so make sure you don’t exceed 29˚C when reheating. 
  9. Let turtles air dry completely or place in the fridge to set before enjoying.

Notes

Store turtles in a tin or container for up to 3 weeks. You may also store the turtles in the refrigerator, just let the turtles come to room temperature before enjoying. 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 128
  • Sugar: 11.6g
  • Sodium: 27mg
  • Fat: 8.4g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.9g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 13g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 1.4g
  • Cholesterol: 6mg

Keywords: Turtles, Candy, Chocolate, Christmas, Edible Gifts

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I can’t wait to see what you’ve made! xo alie

FAQ’s

What is tempering?

Tempering chocolate means the heating and cooling of chocolate. When done properly the chocolate will be stable, hard, have a nice snap and will have a smooth, glossy finish with a nice colour. When tempered incorrectly the chocolate will be brittle, have a dull surface (or no gloss), a fast melting point and may have white streaks throughout. Unfortunately you will not be able to tell if the temperatures were correct until the chocolate has set completely.

Why does my chocolate have white swirls all over?

If you see white streaks or swirls all over your chocolate this is called a fat bloom or a sugar bloom. It means the chocolate has been incorrectly tempered (heated and cooled incorrectly) and the cocoa butter crystals or sugar crystals have risen to the top of the surface resulting in a bloom. There is no harm in consuming this chocolate it just doesn’t look as pretty and the texture will not be crisp.

Is there an easier way to make homemade chocolate turtles?

Yes, you can make a cheat version of homemade turtles by layering the pecans, caramel, and chocolate on top of each other instead of shaping and dipping them fully into chocolate. You can also make turtles into a bark by spreading out chocolate onto a tray and swirling in caramel and chopped nuts.

Do you have to temper chocolate?

Chocolate requires tempering when it’s being used to make as candy, molds, and confections. When chocolate is being added to baking it does not need to be tempered. You temper chocolate to achieve a nice glossy shine and a crisp, hard texture. Without tempering you run the risk of having the chocolate bloom (dull with white streaks) and have a poor texture and quality.

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Alie Romano

Meet

Alie

I'm a professional baker, recipe developer & photographer behind Baking For Friends. I specialize in classic & comforting baking. I hope you enjoy the recipes & find inspiration of your own to bring your family & friends together over home-cooked food!

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