Learn how to make chocolate caramel turtle candy with honey right in your own kitchen. Turtle candies are one of the most popular types of chocolate snacks. Even though the ingredients have nothing to do with live turtles, people seem to remember the quirky name. Chocolate, caramel, pecans – what’s not to love? And, you don’t have to visit a candy shop for this special treat.
What is Turtle Candy?
Turtle candies are a combination of pecans and caramel that are dipped in chocolate. Why are they called turtles? Well, that’s a funny story.
A chance remark by a worker in a candy shop related that the dipped candy looked like a turtle – the rest is history. Yes, sometimes it really is that simple. Today, you can purchase turtle candy in every shape and size.
- pecan halves
- chocolate chips
- sweetened condensed milk
Pecan Halves: Buy ready to use pecan halves when you can. Yes, you may have a few broken ones in the bag but cracking the nuts at home can lead to even fewer complete pieces.
If you have nuts in the shell and want to crack them of course that works too. But this is a time consuming chore.
Chocolate Chips: When choosing your chocolate chips for baking, dark or milk chocolate varieties will both work well.
I often prefer dark chocolate turtle candy – but I won’t turn down a milk chocolate variety either 🙂
Baking squares work well too but I find the bagged chips easier to manage. Use whichever chocolate covering you have on hand.
Honey: Any type of raw honey is perfect. Don’t spend extra money for a special variety. Regular wildflower is fine.
Homemade Turtles with Honey Caramel
1. Start by lining your baking pans or cookie sheets with parchment paper if you have some. This makes cleanup a breeze and helps protect the shape of your finished turtle.
Arrange 6 pecan halves to make the turtle shapes on the paper. Less sticking! Two halves are the body and the other 4 become 2 legs on each side. Leave some spacing between the individual turtles.
2. In a medium sized pan, mix together the butter, brown sugar, honey, vanilla and a dash of salt. Slowly heat to a low boil and then simmer.
3. Stir in the condensed milk and mix well. We want to heat this mixture to the soft ball candy stage. This is 235° F – 245° F on a candy thermometer. Stir frequently don’t let it burn.
4. Once the proper temperature is reached, remove from heat. Quickly spoon the caramel over the arranged pecan halves. Be sure to get some caramel on each piece – this helps lock them together. Sit aside to cool.
While the caramel is cooling, melt your chocolate and vegetable oil in a microwave safe dish. Spoon a coating of chocolate on each turtle. In about an hour or so, your turtle candy will be ready to enjoy.
This is a great recipe for those of you who enjoy homemade goodies but don’t have a lot of time. Using only a few ingredients and very little cook time, even the most inexperienced candy maker can be successful.
Storing Your Honey Turtles Candy
Once your candies are completely cooled, store them in an air-tight container. They can be left on the counter for a few days but I prefer to keep them in the frig.
Let me warn you though- these are alarmingly good. The chance of them going stale is remote. You can even eat them frozen – please don’t ask how I know this.
Great Gift Idea Too!
Homemade candies are great gifts for someone special. Sure you can buy something but taking the effort put into home-baked goods is still appreciated by many folks.
These honey turtles are rich enough that even a few of them make a sweet present. Include a small bag of them and a jar of honey – great gift for honey lovers.
A gift container with a ribbon or a decorative tin works well to hold the turtles. If you live in a humid environment, placing a bit of wax paper between them will help prevent stickiness. If you have any pecans left over – try roasting them with honey.
Honey Turtle Candy Recipe
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- 3 cups pecan halves
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup butter
- 7 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
- 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
- Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and arrange pecan halves on paper. Use 6 halves per turtle.
- In a saucepan, gently heat the butter, brown sugar, honey, vanilla and a dash of salt until it is warm and combined. Then add the condensed milk and pinch of salt – combine well.
- Heat the mixture to a temperature of about 235F – 245F using a candy thermometer – or until it reaches the soft ball stage. Stir constantly.You can check this by dropping a drip into a glass of cool water. If the mixture holds together in a pliable ball – it is ready. Take care to not over-cook as this can happen quickly.
- Once the caramel is ready, quickly spoon some over each pecan turtle – making sure that each piece of pecan is connected with caramel. Sit aside to cool as you prepare the chocolate.
- Melt the chocolate chips and vegetable oil in a double boiler or in the microwave using short burst of time. Once it is completely melted – spoon a coating of chocolate on each of the turtles.
- Leave the turtle candy on the cookie sheet until thoroughly cooled. Perhaps an hour or more depending on room temperature.