Monday, January 16, 2012

Chocolate Covered Turtles

Christmas is the time for candy making. I have a few recipes on my go-to list, but I have a lot more recipe testing to do. After making 3 different batches of Turtles before Christmas this year, I felt like I needed to wait to try this recipe. I'm glad I tried them. This is my new go-to Turtle recipe...I'm adding it to my list of candy-making musts for next Christmas. If I can hide them, they may last until Valentine's Day.

Chocolate Covered Turtles

4 tablespoons butter, cut up, plus more for pans
3/4 pound pecan halves (about 3 1/2 cups), toasted (Preheat oven to 350
   degrees. Spread pecans on a cookie sheet. Put in oven for 5-10 minutes,
   or until the pecans become aromatic. Be careful not to let them scorch).
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening


Generously butter 2 baking sheets.
On the baking sheets, arrange 2 pecan halves together, leaving 2 inches of space between each cluster.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the evaporated milk, the corn syrup, and sugar and bring to a boil. Add the remaining 1/2 cup evaporated milk and the 4 tablespoons butter, and cook, stirring constantly, until it reaches the soft ball stage, 240 degrees F. (Use a candy thermometer - you want to be precise). Remove from heat immediately, and stir in the vanilla.

Working quickly and carefully, use a tablespoon, (I used a cookie scoop), and spoon caramel on top of each nut cluster and let harden. (If the caramel becomes too stiff to pour, return to low heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until it returns to the proper consistency).

To make the chocolate coating, heat in the microwave for 1 minute. Remove and stir. Return for 15-30 seconds and stir, repeating until chocolate is melted, but is cool to the touch. Be careful not to overheat or scorch.

Drizzle about 1/2 tablespoon of tempered chocolate over each cluster. Chill to harden. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks, with waxed paper separating the layers to prevent sticking. Or you may freeze the turtles if you will store them longer.

Makes approximately 70 turtles.