Chocolate Turtles ⋆ 100 Days of Real Food

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These pecan chocolate turtles feature crunchy pecans, gooey caramel, and smooth chocolate! They are quick and easy to make. Great for Christmas, the holiday season, and gift boxes!

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Chocolate Turtles are a classic candy loved for their perfect blend of chewy caramel, crunchy pecans, and rich chocolate! While store-bought options are readily available, making them at home allows you to customize the recipe and control the ingredients, resulting in a truly delightful and more wholesome treat. They are crunchy, salty, chocolaty, and gooey!

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Homemade Chocolate Turtles are bursting with fresh flavors, lacking the preservatives often found in store-bought versions.
  • You can adjust the sweetness of the caramel, choose your favorite nuts, and experiment with different chocolates to create your own perfect turtle.
  • These homemade treats are perfect for gifting during holidays, sharing with friends and family, or simply enjoying yourself.
  • We even found a brand that makes caramel without corn syrup and without white sugar!
  • This recipe requires just three main ingredients.
  • They are no bake. No need to turn on the oven!
  • This recipe is naturally gluten-free.
  • Check out these Chocolate Covered Strawberries for another fun sweet treat recipe!

Ingredients & Substitutes

These are the ingredients and substitutes for chocolate turtles. Scroll down to the recipe card below for the entire recipe.

Use pecan halves. Do not use chopped pecans or pecan pieces.

We love Sweet Apricity Caramels for a version made without white sugar and corn syrup.

Use any type of chocolate chips. We usually use Enjoy Life, although they do have a little added sugar.

Lastly, top with sea salt on top!

Ingredients for chocolate turtles.

Taste & Texture

Homemade Chocolate Turtles are a delicious blend of textures and flavors.

The pecans offer a satisfying crunch, the caramel delivers a rich, chewy sweetness, and the chocolate coating provides a smooth, decadent finish.

Each bite is a delightful treat!

How to Make

Step 1

First, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. This will prevent the turtles from sticking to the sheet.

Step 2

Place whole pecans in groups of 3 on the prepared baking sheet. These will form the base for your turtles. Leave some space between each group to allow room for the caramel and chocolate.

Pecans on pan.

Step 3

If you’re using soft caramels, microwave them in a microwave-safe bowl in 15-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the caramel is completely melted. If your caramels are very firm, you can add a splash of water or plant-based milk to help them melt more smoothly.

Step 4

If you’re making homemade caramel, follow your caramel recipe instructions until you have a smooth, melted caramel.

Step 5

Spoon a small amount of melted caramel (about 1 teaspoon) onto each cluster of pecans on the baking sheet. The caramel should slightly surround the pecans, holding them together. If necessary, use the back of the spoon to shape the caramel.

Teaspoon caramel on pan.

Step 6

Allow the caramel and pecans to cool and set for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until they are firm to the touch.

Step 7

In a microwave-safe bowl or using a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips, stirring until smooth and fully melted.

Step 8

Using a spoon or fork, carefully coat each caramel and pecan cluster with melted chocolate. Make sure to cover the entire caramel and pecan base. Allow any excess chocolate to drip off.

Chocolate with pecans and caramel.

Step 9

Return the chocolate-coated turtles to the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Chocolate caramel turtles.

Step 10

While the chocolate is still soft, you can sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt on top of each turtle for a sweet and salty contrast.

Sea salt caramel bites.

Step 11

Allow the chocolate turtles to cool at room temperature until the chocolate is fully set, which may take 1 to 2 hours. You can also place them in the refrigerator for faster setting.

Step 12

Once the chocolate is set, carefully remove the chocolate turtles from the parchment paper and transfer them to an airtight container. Store them at room temperature or in the refrigerator, depending on your preference.

Gooey pecan chocolate turtles.

Expert Tips for Success

Follow these tips to make the best chocolate turtles.

For perfectly smooth caramel: Use a candy thermometer to ensure the temperature reaches 248°F (120°C) before removing it from the heat.

Don’t overcook the caramel: Overcooked caramel will be hard and brittle. Aim for a soft, chewy texture.

Use a double boiler to melt the chocolate: This will ensure even heating and prevent the chocolate from burning.

Rest the turtles for at least 2 hours before serving: This allows the chocolate to set and firm up.

Flavor Variations & Add-Ins

The beauty of this recipe is its versatility. Here are some ideas to change up the turtle chocolates.

Nuts: Swap pecans for almonds, walnuts, peanuts, or hazelnuts.

Spices: Add a pinch of cinnamon, sea salt, or cayenne pepper to the caramel for a touch of warmth or spice.

Chocolate: Use dark, milk, or white chocolate for the coating, or even drizzle with different colored chocolates for a festive touch.

Drizzle with sea salt: This adds a delightful sweet and salty contrast.

Sprinkle with chopped nuts or dried fruit: This adds a decorative touch and extra texture.

How to Serve & Store

Store your homemade Chocolate Turtles in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. They also do well in the fridge.

They will keep for up to a week. Serve them at room temperature for the best texture and flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I substitute the pecans for other nuts?

Yes, you can use any nut you like. See the suggestions for flavor variations above.

How long will the Chocolate Turtles last?

When stored properly, homemade Chocolate Turtles will last for up to a week.

Can I freeze the Chocolate Turtles?

Yes, you can freeze Chocolate Turtles for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

What are some good ways to gift Chocolate Turtles?

You can package them in a decorative box, tin, or cellophane bag. Add a ribbon or bow for a personal touch.

Why are they called chocolate turtles?

The chocolate candies were named “turtles” because their shape resembled a turtle’s shell, with a caramel center and a chocolate coating.

Tray with pecan turtle bites.

Equipment Needed

Parchment Paper Sheets: Use parchment paper to prevent the turtle chocolates from sticking to the pan.

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