Homemade Pecan Turtle Candy may take a little time to prepare, but trust me when I tell you that this recipe is worth every minute.
I originally shared this recipe in 2013. I've recently updated this post with additional information, including a recipe card complete with nutritional information, but the recipe and the photos have remained unchanged.
**Please Note - The printable recipe card with detailed instructions, complete ingredient measurements, and nutritional information for making Chocolate Pecan Turtles is available at the end of this post. Or you can hit the "jump to recipe" button (found above) to be taken directly to the recipe.
The ingredient list:
**Note - The following lists of ingredients plus kitchen tools and equipment contain affiliate links (highlighted in blue) for your consideration and shopping convenience. #CommissionsEarned
- light corn syrup
- dark brown sugar
- sweetened condensed milk
- pure vanilla extract
- semi-sweet chocolate chips
Kitchen tools and equipment needed:
- candy thermometer (important)
- heavy bottom 3-quart saucepan
- baking sheets
- parchment paper
- silicone spatulas
- measuring cups and spoons
- medium size microwave-safe bowl
- ice water (precaution for sugar syrup burns)
- candy boxes for gifting
Why this recipe works:
Rich and buttery, these homemade turtles will win over any heart so you may want to consider making them for your special Valentine this (and every) year!
What I wrote about this recipe in 2013:
Every time I make these Chocolate Caramel Pecan Turtle Candy, I plan on sharing the recipe but never have.
It's not like I've been trying to keep them a secret or anything, it's just that I've been very tortoise-like with getting it done.
Trust me when I tell you that they'll leave all other homemade candy in the dust! Well, maybe that's a little strong, but I was trying to make a tortoise and the hare reference here (in case you couldn't tell). Ha Ha!
Why do these homemade turtles require a candy thermometer?
Because you'll need to bring the caramel mixture to a firm-ball stage and that requires a specific temperature of 248-degrees Fahrenheit to be reached on a candy thermometer.
Approximately how long will it take the caramel to come to a firm-ball stage.
Be patient and don't rush the process.
Bringing the caramel to a firm-ball stage will take between 15-20 minutes using medium to medium/low heat.
What will happen if the caramel doesn't come to a firm-ball stage?
It will be much too loose and runny, and the caramel won't be of a proper consistency for making candy turtles.
Proper temperatures for the different stages of sugar syrup for candy making:
SPECIAL NOTE: I do NOT recommend testing the sugar syrup with your fingers. Always use a candy thermometer! The following video is just for your visual comprehension of the different candy stages when cooking sugar.
How many chocolate coated pecan turtles does this recipe make?
As written, this recipe will make 30-32 regularly sized turtle candies (approximately 1½" in diameter).
However, should you choose to make your turtles larger (or even smaller), then naturally the amount of finished candy will be different.
Can chopped pecans be used in this recipe?
Sure thing. The finished product won't look like traditional chocolate turtles, but the taste will be the same.
IF you choose to make these turtles with chopped nuts, I would suggest carefully mixing the toasted chopped nuts into the prepared caramel first before dropping the caramel/nut mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Can other types of nuts be used?
Of course. Use whatever nut you like best, or have on hand.
Personally, I prefer pecans in my turtle candy, but feel free to do you!
Why is toasting the nuts best when making this candy?
When you lightly toast a nut, it brings out more nut flavor than a standard raw nut.
Of course, you can still make this recipe without toasting the nuts, but if you're taking the time to make homemade candy (with nuts), then why not take a few extra minutes to make the finished product as delicious as possible?
Can the nuts be left out of this candy?
Just omit all the nut steps and carry on with the recipe as written.
Can other types of chocolate be used?
If you're feeling wild and crazy, why not use some white chocolate chips? Milk chocolate chips will also work.
The step-by-step photos for making pecan turtle candy:
- Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake them in a 350-degree oven for approximately 7-10 minutes (until you can smell them). Set aside to cool.
- Add the butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, and salt and cook, occasionally stirring, until all the sugar has dissolved.
- Gradually add in the sweetened con24densed milk and cook and stir over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil.
- Continue boiling the mixture, stirring frequently. Be patient as you'll be boiling and stirring for quite a while (approximately 15-18 minutes).
- Using a candy thermometer, continue boiling and stirring until the mixture reaches 248-degrees (firm ball stage) on a candy thermometer.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the pecans and vanilla extract until well combined.
- Carefully drop the caramel and nut mixture, by tablespoon measurements, onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them about 2" apart.
- Refrigerate until firm (about 20 minutes).
- Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips and the shortening together in a microwave-safe bowl on half power for 20-second intervals, stirring until the chocolate is smooth and melted.
- Using a teaspoon, dollop each turtle with chocolate (or you can drizzle chocolate over the top using a piping bag or fork) and return the turtles back to the fridge to firm before serving.
Additional homemade candy recipes:
*Tropical White Chocolate Candy Bites (shown below and featured in the video)
These easy-to-make Tropical White Chocolate Candy Bites are the perfect thing to make and gift to someone who loves to indulge in a sweet little treat from time to time.
*No-Bake Peanut Butter and Chocolate Granola Jumbles (not shown)
This fast and easy recipe for No-Bake Peanut Butter and Chocolate Granola Jumbles will satisfy your sweet tooth and give you a boost of energy that will last you all through the afternoon.
*Butter Toffee Cashew Crunch (shown below)
When you care enough to give the very best, this recipe for butter toffee cashew crunch candy should be at the very top of your gift-giving list.
*Homemade Candy Dots (not shown)
Homemade Candy Dots conjure up childhood memories of simpler times. These tasty little treats are easy to make, and they’re fun to eat…Just like you remember!
*Homemade Pecan Turtle Candy (shown below) THIS IS THE PLACE!!
Below is the printable recipe card along with the exact ingredient measurements and nutritional information for making today's delicious chocolate caramel and pecan homemade turtle candy.
If you've made this recipe, or are excited to make this recipe, I'd appreciate it if you'd take a moment to leave it a star rating in the recipe card, along with a comment if you're so inclined. Thank you. 🙂
HOMEMADE PECAN TURTLE CANDY
- 1 cup butter I use salted
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 2 ¼ cups dark brown sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ pounds of pecans
- 1 standard package chocolate chips I used semi-sweet
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- -Spread the pecans evenly on a baking sheet and bake them in a 350-degree oven for approximately 7-10 minutes (they're ready when you start to smell them). Set aside to cool.
- -Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium-low heat in a 3 quart, heavy-bottom saucepan.
- -Add the corn syrup, brown sugar, and salt and cook, occasionally stirring, until all the sugar has dissolved.
- -Gradually add in the sweetened condensed milk and cook and stir over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil.
- -Continue boiling the mixture, stirring frequently. Be patient as you'll be boiling and stirring for quite a while (approximately 15-18 minutes).
- -Using a candy thermometer, continue boiling and stirring until the mixture reaches 248-degrees (firm ball stage) on a candy thermometer.
- -Turn off the heat and stir in the pecans and vanilla extract until well combined.
- -Carefully drop the caramel and nut mixture, by tablespoon measurements, onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them about 2" apart.
- -Refrigerate the candy until firm.
- -Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips and the shortening together in a microwave-safe bowl on half power for 20-second intervals, stirring until the chocolate is smooth and melted.
- -Using a teaspoon, dollop each turtle with chocolate (or you can drizzle chocolate over the top using a piping bag or fork) and return the turtles back to the fridge to firm before serving.
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Kudos Kitchen by Renee – Where I joyously bring you easy, economical, and delicious comfort food dishes to feed the people you love!
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