Pecan Turtles

Makes 60 Turtles



  • 7½ oz heavy cream
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • 1 lb pecan halves


  • 1¼ lbs dark chocolate, chopped & divided
  • 2-3 squares of dark chocolate, as needed for “seed”


  • candy thermometer
  • digital meat thermometer
  • double boiler
  • pastry brush & small bowl of water


Make Caramel

  1. Bring cream and butter to a boil in small saucepan over high heat. Remove from heat and set aside
  2. Bring sugar and water to boil in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves
  3. Add corn syrup and stir in, then stop stirring at this point. Brush down sides of pot with wet pastry brush if necessary to remove sugar crystals. Boil over medium heat until golden caramel color. When the sugar starts to lightly brown, drag a heat-proof spatula through mixture to help prevent burning in spots. Once the sugar is at the desired golden color, work quickly to add the cream, as it can get too dark within seconds
  4. Carefully add cream mixture, stirring constantly and continue to boil until caramel reaches 257º
  5. Immediately remove from heat and stir in vanilla
  6. Let the cool at room temperature until the caramel reaches around 150º

Toast Pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 350º (325º for convection)
  2. Spread pecans out evenly on a sheet tray. Roast for 7-8 minutes, checking the color to assure that they are evenly browning. If needed, roast 2-4 additional minutes until toasted and brown, checking frequently
  3. Remove from sheet pan immediately and set aside to cool

Temper Chocolate

  1. Place 1 lb of the chopped chocolate into a stainless steel bowl that will fit over a pot filled with 1" of water without touching the water
  2. Bring water to a simmer
  3. Melt, chocolate, heating until the temperature reaches 120º (110º for milk chocolate and white chocolate), using a thermometer
  4. Remove from heat and add remaining ¼ lb chocolate (called the “seed”)  
  5. Stir constantly until the temperature reaches 89º (84º - 87º for milk and white chocolate). If the ¼ lb of chopped chocolate was not sufficient for dropping the temperature, add a couple of the extra dark chocolate squares, and stir until you achieve the correct temperature
  6. Once at 89º, remove any unmelted seed
  7. To check the temper, dip a spoon into chocolate and allow it to sit for a few minutes. If it hardens and looks smooth and satiny and has no streaks, it is in temper
  8. Keep at 89º until use, by frequently placing back over simmering water for seconds at a time, then removing

Note:  It is best to temper chocolate in a room temperature around 68º – 70º


  1. Line a sheet pan with wax paper or parchment. Arrange 3 or 4 pecan halves together, a few inches apart per turtle
  2. Top with about a tablespoon of caramel, in the center of each group of pecans. The caramel will cascade and cover the pecans. There is no need to try to spread the caramel
  3. Allow the caramel and pecans to cool for a few minutes before topping with chocolate, or the temperature difference can bring the chocolate from its tempered state
  4. Top with about a tablespoon of tempered chocolate. They are ready to eat when the chocolate has hardened to the touch. The turtles will store in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks (but, of course, they are so yummy that they never last that long!)