Thursday, December 16, 2010
Salted Awkward turtles
Does anyone actually know where the term "awkward turtle" came from? I tried to find out some information online, but nobody seems to know where it came from. I would love to shake the hand of the person who came up with it, but they would probably just go all awkward turtle on me. My mini sister...the queen of awkward, Mimzer loves turtles. The ones of the chocolate kind, not the live ones. I have always wanted to make turtles, but just never got around to it, until today. They were simple, delicious, and mucho yummy. If you are looking for a nice homemade gift, this would be it. I know making your own caramel can be intimidating, but really it is quite simple. You do however need a thermometer. You can buy them at target for $10-15. I use mine all the time for making candies, butter cream icing, meat, and bread. It really is a worthwhile investment, so go ahead and put one in your stocking this year. You can make this without a thermometer, but you have to be careful not to under or overcook the caramel Basically you want it to be a nice dark caramelly color, but not burnt. For guaranteed results use a thermometer.
Speaking of Christmas...my favorite Christmas moment so far has been watching my seven year old niece make Christmas pictures for everyone in the family. She comes home from school everyday and draws these adorable Christmas scenes. Then she gets out the wrapping paper and wraps each picture individually. She was really frustrated the other night because she realized she had been using double stick tape on accident and all the presents were sticking together. That girl has such a big heart, and beautiful soul I love that kid. She helps make Christmas magical for all of us.
Salted Awkward Turtles
Place 2 cups of chopped pecans on a cookie sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for 5-8 minutes until slightly colored, you will know they are ready when you start to smell them. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan bring the following to a boil over medium high heat:
1 cup + 2 TBS granulated sugar
4 oz corn syrup*
8 fl oz heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
Stir until sugar is dissolved and then do not stir anymore. Boil until temperature reaches 245 degrees. Then add 3 TBS butter, and 1 tsp vanilla and boil until 245 degrees again. Remove from heat and stir in the toasted chopped pecans. Stir, and then scoop teaspoons of mixture onto parchment lined cookie sheet. Allow to cool until caramel is set. Once cool, melt chocolate according to instructions on type of chocolate you are using. Heat only until just about melted. Do not over heat the chocolate. If it is too hot it will not set properly. Dip each caramel/pecan cluster into the melted chocolate and coat, remove from chocolate with fork and shake off any excess chocolate. Place on parchment lined cookie sheets and sprinkle a few grains of coarse sea salt on top of each candy before the chocolate hardens. Cool completely and store at room temperature in an air tight container.
*If you don't want to use corn syrup you can substitute honey or maple syrup. The end result will be slightly softer, but still taste really good.
Traditionally turtles are arranged with 3-4 pecan halves that are laid flat and then caramel is poured in the middle, thus making it look like a turtle. I like having caramel cover all the pecans, so I like to chop and mix instead. Do what you prefer, in the end it still tastes great.