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Valentine’s Day is one of those crazy holidays. I’ve had really romantic ones and sort of mediocre ones. I’ve had at least one where I’ve been really sad and it was that Valentine’s Day where my friends invited me over and made me dinner and we watched movies. I felt incredibly loved even if I was the awkward third wheel that may or may not have cried through the movies and fell asleep on the couch.
These turtles are the kind of food gift that you give people that you love deep enough to ruin your romantic Valentin’e Day. And they’re the kind of thing you make for the people who love you enough to ruin their romantic Valentine’s Day to cheer you up.
I’m going to be straight. These homemade turtles are a lot of work but not terribly difficult. Don’t be intimidated by the homemade caramel. It’s really the only way to go.
Some notes about homemade caramel:
The key to homemade caramel is to keep stirring, have a candy thermometer, and control your heat. This caramel will bubble up like crazy and you’ll have to turn the heat down to keep them from boiling all over your stove. Trust me, this will happen. These turtles are filled with a softer caramel than most standard turtles. It makes them a little more fussy but the softness of the caramel is worth it.
Some notes about candy thermometers:
A candy thermometer feels like a big deal. Like we’re kicking this up a notch into real freaking baking. Cause we are. My advice: don’t buy this kind of candy thermometer, the syrup will junk it up and you won’t be able to read the temperature. I like one like this. It’s only a few extra dollars but it will make your life so much easier (well at least your candy making life).
We’re also going to toast the pecans. I wrote a whole post on why we need to toast the pecans. In the scheme of these turtles, toasting the pecans takes so little time but makes the flavor so much better.
For The Caramel
- 1 cup water
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk 14 ounce can
- 1 2/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1 stick butter cut up into pieces
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extact
For The Final Turtles
- 4-5 bags dark chocolate melting wafers 10 ounce bags
- 4-5 cups toasted pecans
- 1/2 cup colored melting wafers red, white, pink, whatever
For the Caramel
- Combine the water, sugar, sweetened condensed milk into a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly.
- Once the mixture comes to a boil, add the corn syrup and continue to stir. Always stir. Don’t stop stirring.
- When the mixture reaches 230 degrees F, add in the butter and continue stirring. While the caramel is reaching it’s final temperature it will bubble up like crazy. Keep stirring. Eventually the
- When the caramel reaches 243 degrees F, remove from heat. Add in vanilla extract and salt.
- On a parchment lined baking sheet, scoop tablespoon sized dollops of the caramel onto the baking sheet. Press toasted pecans into the caramel blobs. Once you fill a sheet, place the cookie sheet in the fridge or preferably the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
For The Turtles
- While the caramel is in the freezer, melt the chocolate. Take caramel out of the freezer and allow to set at room temperature for a minute or two.
- Place frozen caramel blobs on a fork and dip into melted chocolate. When all sides are coated in chocolate, place finished turtle on parchment to dry.
- Melt the colored melting wafers while the turtles are drying. Pour the melting wafers into a piping bag. Snip the very tip off of the piping bag and pipe stripes over the top of the turtle.