Gift from the Kitchen #4 – Chocolate Turtles

December 14th, 2009 / Comments 1

Today marks the end of chocolate week in my holiday kitchen. Homemade chocolate treats are a gift of my time and since they are delicious and extraordinarily consumable they don’t occupy valuable space in anyone’s home for very long.

Pa turtle 01 Gift from the Kitchen #4   Chocolate Turtles

Last Saturday, I created chocolate turtles consisting of five pecans (the head and four legs), held together with a disc of creamy caramel (the body), and topped with dark chocolate (the shell). Creating chocolate turtles is a three-step process: building each turtle body, making caramel and adding the shell.
turtles 01 Gift from the Kitchen #4   Chocolate Turtles

Here’s how I made them:

Chocolate Turtles

I arranged the pecans to make the legs and head of thirty turtles on a couple of cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

Making the caramel is fussy work. I stirred constantly and paid close attention so that the caramel didn’t scorch. I combined one cup of sugar, two thirds of a cup of light corn syrup and half a cup of cream in a heavy bottom three-quart pot. I brought the mixture to a boil, covered the pot and let it boil for two minutes and then removed the lid and used a pastry brush dipped into water to wash away any sugar crystals on the sides of the pot. I continued to boil the mixture, stirred constantly until it reached the soft ball stage – 234 degrees F, and then slowly added another half a cup of cream, cooked and stirred until the mixture reached the softball stage again. Then I added the final half-cup of cream and continued to cook and stir the caramel until it reached 244 degrees F – the firm ball stage. I removed the pan from the heat, stirred in one teaspoon of vanilla and formed the turtles by spooning a tablespoon of hot caramel onto each group of five pecans.

For the chocolate shell, I melted twelve ounces of good quality, dark chocolate in a double boiler with hot but not boiling water in the bottom. If the chocolate gets even a tiny drop of water into it, it will seize and become a grainy un-meltable mass. Do not despair if this happens, just add a teaspoon of vegetable oil and stir the seized chocolate until it melts and is shiny again. Spoon the melted chocolate onto the caramel turtle bodies and leave to cool until the chocolate has set.

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Chocolate Turtle List

  • 1 pound whole pecans
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2/3 cup  light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2  c  cream – divided
  • 1 t vanilla
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