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Party Food

Homemade Turtle Chocolates

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Turtle candy chocolates are a classic Christmas candy – and they taste even better when they’re homemade!

I’m obsessed with this amazing homemade turtle candy. They are so quick and easy to make and you’ll love the flavor as much as I do. I’m all about a good, simple, old-fashioned recipe and this one certainly delivers. 

This classic candy is ready in less than 30 minutes and can be packaged for gifting. You can’t go wrong with pecans, chocolate and caramel combined into one amazing recipe. Grandma’s traditional treats are truly some of the best. You’ll really love the flavors of this sweet dessert! 

Keep reading to find out the ingredients you need and how to make turtle candy! 

a homemade turtle candy resting against serving dish

Homemade Turtle Candy:

This classic Christmas turtle candy could not be more simple, I swear. In order to actually make these homemade turtles, all you’ll need to do is melt some chocolate and caramels followed by some light assembly. It’s even simpler than making cracker toffee.

You can impress your friends and family with these simple candies that take thirty minutes to make and look beautiful when they’re displayed on a simple platter! Pair them with gingerbread fudge or gingerbread truffles — or even cashew brittle!

You can also easily double the recipe if you want to have a few “testers” before serving them to your loved ones!  I promised you won’t be disappointed but I completely understand if you want to investigate for yourself.  They are pretty irresistible!

Pecans dipped in chocolate have been a favorite since before your grandmother was born (maybe even your great-grandmother) but somewhere around the 1900s, the turtle candy was born.

Before we start making turtle candy, perhaps you’d like to know what they actually are and where they came from.

What’s a Turtle Candy?

So, what are turtle candies? Turtle candies are basically pecans and caramel covered in chocolate which usually takes the shape of a turtle, hence the name. These beloved treats originated in San Francisco in the 1900s by a candy chef named Louis Gordon Hooper. Although later the candy was trademarked by a Chicago based candy company called DeMet’s.

Alright, enough history lessons, let’s get cooking!

Ingredients Needed to Make These Homemade Turtles:

This recipe is really so simple, you can just tell by the ingredient list!  For a single batch, this recipe will make about 25 turtle candies. There are only five ingredients:

  • 2 cups pecans
  • 25 caramel squares
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup dark chocolate
  • 1 Tablespoons shortening

This recipe is also gluten free which can be a blessing for people who are allergic or just looking to cut down on gluten, as around the holidays there can be lots of temptation.

Although, this recipe does have nuts so be aware of any nut allergies if you plan on bringing them to a party. If there are no nut allergies, this peanut brittle is also a great treat.

To make your turtle candies, you’ll definitely need some pecans and caramel squares. Be sure to check the bulk food section of your grocery store where you’ll be able to buy these items individually all year round.

You’ll also need heavy whipping cream, which you can find in the dairy section. Then, head to the baking section to grab some dark chocolate and some shortening.

Optionally you can sprinkle these turtles with sea salt flakes for added flavor.  I don’t know about you but I love the combination of sweet and salty, but I’ve found that most kids prefer their turtles without the salt.  (Also, by putting sea salt on a few, it ensures that I get my share!)

pecans, caramel and chocolate chips

How to Make Turtle Candy:

I’m going to stop saying anything about cooking in this section since you’re really not “cooking” anything, it’s really all just about prepping and assembling.

You have a couple of options for how to make your turtle candies.  One, I’ve already mentioned about using sea salt flakes or not, but you also have the option to roast you pecans or not.

If you decide to roast them, be aware of two things.  One, your turtle candies will have a bit more of a crunch (basically if you want them to be soft, don’t roast the pecans!)  Two, the pecans can burn quickly if you’re not careful.  So, be sure to keep an eye on them.

To roast your pecans, preheat your oven to 350 and place the pecans on a baking sheet.  You want them to be spread in an even layer to ensure they cook evenly. (By the way, pecan lovers will want to try these chocolate pecan pie squares.)

Bake them for about 8 minutes, until they are slightly darker and fragrant.

Let the pecans cool completely before you start the next part of the recipe.

Grab a microwave safe bowl big enough to hold the caramel squares and the heavy whipping cream.  Place them in the bowl and microwave in 30-second increments until the caramel is completely melted and both ingredients are mixed through.  You’ll need to stir thoroughly between each 30-second heating.

Okay, it’s time to start assembling!

Take your pecans and put them in small clusters to form the turtle’s “feet”. It should take about four pecans to form one “cluster”.  Obviously, you can make them bigger or smaller depending on your preference!

Put a heaping teaspoon of melted caramel over each cluster. Be sure to get some caramel on each pecan in the cluster, since this is like the glue that will keep them together!

Next, you’ll need to melt the chocolate and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl. This time microwave the mixture in 25-second increments, and stirring between each heating.

spoonful of chocolate dripping on candy

This next step is where you can let your artistic light shine. Make the turtle “shell” by placing a teaspoon of melted chocolate on top of the clusters and slightly swirl the spoon to create a cool design. Experiment with different techniques to make a unique batch of turtles!

Finally, if you’re adding sea salt flakes, now is the time to do it!

turtle candy close up

This recipe is the best way of surprising everyone with delicious homemade candy and is always a hit.

You don’t need to worry about them melting either.  They’ll be eaten before they have time to melt!

More Christmas Candy Recipes:

Homemade Turtles

Homemade Turtle Chocolates

Turtle chocolates are a classic Christmas candy – and they taste even better when they’re homemade!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: homemade turtles
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 25
Calories: 32kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pecans
  • 25 caramel squares
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup dark chocolate
  • 1 Tablespoons shortening
  • Sea salt flakes optional

Instructions

  • If roasting your pecans, preheat your oven to 350F
  • Spread your pecans in an even layer on a cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes until just slightly darker and fragrant. These burn quickly so watch them!
  • Allow the pecans to cool before moving on to the other steps of the recipe.
  • Place the unwrapped caramel squares and heavy whipping cream in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30 second increments, stirring well in between each heating.
  • Arrange the pecans in small clusters to form the turtles’ “feet.”
  • Pour a generous tablespoon of the melted caramel sauce over the pecans.
  • Place the chocolates and shortening in a second microwave-safe bowl and heat in 25 second increments, stirring well in between each heating.
  • Add a generous tablespoon of melted chocolate overtop of the caramel and swirl the spoon in the chocolate to make a luscious design.
  • If desired, sprinkle the adults’ turtles with a few sea salt flakes.

Nutrition

Calories: 32kcal
Tried this recipe?Follow me on Pinterest @spaceshipslb

Bake up a great treat with these great sources gathered by the crew at Spaceships and Laser Beams…

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Check out more great Christmas treats:

Don’t forget to check out 29 Christmas Candy Recipes

Christmas Candy Recipes

3 Comments

  1. Hannah Griffin

    May 16, 2018 at 10:08 pm


    SO FREAKIN GOOD!

  2. Eric Alba

    May 21, 2018 at 8:39 pm


    The kids will sure love this cookies!

  3. Jenny

    January 11, 2019 at 7:03 am

    These look so good! I’m sharing this with my mom because turtle chocolates are her favorite and she makes homemade candy at Easter, this would be a great addition. Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday!

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