Scratch Made Turtles
What’s going on!
I am so excited about my first blog post that I could run around in circles screaming for joy! I have done a lot with my sweets and this website is the next chapter in my story. Those who are a part of my inner circle can attest to the highs and lows I have experienced on my entrepreneurial road to greatness. I genuinely appreciate all of the love and support given to me from my family and friends on this long journey. I love y’all.
For a long time turtles have been a candy that I have enjoyed. Who doesn’t love turtle candies? You get three ingredients that independently enhance ALL desserts, combined into one bite sized treat. For starters you have pecans at the base of the sweet trio, followed by golden chewy caramel and topped with rich dark chocolate. It is the perfect balance of chewy, buttery, chocolatey, nutty goodness. If you don’t share my sentiment for this delectable treat, I won’t hold it against you. If you aren’t a fan of dark chocolate mix it up by using milk or white chocolate. Any chocolate is good for me!
My self-control use to be tested at every checkout. We have all been there, stuck in line staring at the candy shelf fighting that internal battle, to treat or not to treat. It’s hard to ignore because there is something for everyone and most of us shop while hungry. Most visits to the register would consist of me distracting myself with tabloids or fashion magazines. Other days I would give in to temptation. But once I started baking and making treats from scratch I began to understand that store bought candies and desserts don’t compare to ones made from home. This fact has helped me overlook that dreaded candy shelf and hopefully it will help you. Now, let’s get our treat on!
Utensils and equipment needed:
- Medium or large pot
- Small sauce pan
- Small metal bowl / glass bowl
- Candy thermometer
- Heavily greased parchment paper or silpat
- Half sheet pan or baking dish
- Regular spoon
- Pecan halves 3 cups / 10oz
- Heavy cream 3 cups / 21.5oz
- Sugar 1 ½ cups / 12oz
- Corn syrup (glucose) 1/3 cup / 3.25oz
- Salt ¾ tsp
- Butter 7 TBSP / 3.25oz
- Vanilla 1/2tsp / .25oz / ¼ bean
- Dark, milk, or white melting chocolate 1 cup / 7.5oz
Begin by preheating your oven to 325 degrees. Lay ungreased parchment on the half sheet pan or baking dish and lay the pecans on the parchment. You want your pecans to be single layered so they toast evenly. Place the pecans in the oven for 10 minutes or until you begin to smell their aroma. Allow the pecans to cool while fighting the pull to snack on them…I didn’t. Once the pecans have cooled, place them on the heavily greased parchment creating the look for the base of your candy. For example all of my candies have five pecans. It is important
that the parchment is heavily greased because the caramel will stick. I’m not above eating homemade turtles with paper on the bottom but to quote Jay-Z, “It ain’t for everybody!”
Our next step is making the soft caramel. This is the longest process and it requires the most patience but I promise it’s worth the wait. Place your candy thermometer on the side of your pot then add the heavy cream, sugar, corn syrup and salt and bring to a boil. Beware, the heavy cream will boil over if unattended so don’t go far. Make sure to stir the caramel throughout this process. As the sugar begins to dissolve the contents of your pot will turn yellow. At this point turn your heat on low and continue to cook until your caramel reaches 230 degrees. You will notice your caramel has changed from yellow to light brown. Once your candy thermometer reads 230 degrees add butter and vanilla extract. If you are using a vanilla bean slice it open and scrape out its seeds. Add the seeds and the bean to the caramel. Adding the bean allows you to draw the flavor from it, intensifying its flavor. You can simply remove the bean once your caramel is done cooking. Now that the butter and vanilla have been added continue to cook your caramel until it reaches 245 degrees and the color turns golden brown. Through trial and error, I learned that cooking caramel over 245 degrees will cause it to break. It will still taste amazing however; the smooth mouthfeel will be replaced by a grainy one. Remove the pot from the heat and begin spooning small amounts of caramel over the toasted pecans. Let the caramel drizzled pecans sit long enough for the caramel to completely cool and stiffen.
The final step is to melt your chocolate and drizzle it atop the caramel. Whenever I melt my chocolate I use a double boiler. If you’d rather microwave your chocolate use a glass bowl. I don’t recommend the use of a microwave because the chocolate will burn if you don’t watch it closely. The double boiler technique only requires a little patience, a pot, and a metal bowl. Fill the bottom of the pot with a small amount of water and place the bowl on top. It is important that your bowl not rest in the water because this will burn your chocolate as well. Chocolate is a temperamental little beast so I use Ghirardelli candy making and dipping chocolate wafers. This takes away the stresses that come with tempering chocolate and it has a favorable mouthfeel. Once my chocolate has melted I remove it from the pot being very careful not to get any water in the chocolate. Water is chocolates nemesis. If just a small amount of water gets into your chocolate it will seize and become unusable. An easy way to keep water out of your chocolate is to set the bowl on a towel while you pour spoons of chocolate on the caramel. Once your homemade turtles are completely set, enjoy the fruits of your labor.
I would love to read any feedback you may have or any ideas that came to mind while making your turtles.Thank you for creating with me.