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Homemade Chocolate Turtles

You know these famous candies from that orange and white striped box-- but I have my own homemade version. I use my favourite Ghirardelli chocolate and toasted pecans for the richest and best flavour! I also include my own homemade caramel recipe here too!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Resting Time 25 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Dessert
Servings 2 dozen


  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 3 cups Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips or your favourite chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 cup white corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Toasting the Pecans:

  • Begin by toasting the pecans. Add the pecans to a dry pan over medium-high heat. Cook the pecans, turning every 60 seconds or so until the pecans have become toasted and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the warm pecans (in equal portions) onto two parchment-lined baking trays. Begin to group 3-4 pecans together into clusters and space each cluster about 1 inch apart. Once all the pecans have been arranged, set the baking trays aside.
  • Next, melt the chocolate chips over a double boiler, stirring every few minutes or so. Once the chocolate has melted remove the pot from the heat, but leave the chocolate over the double boiler to stay warm.

Making the Caramel:

  • Next, make the caramel. Add the whipping cream and salted butter to a sauce pot and heat until it just begins to simmer. Do not boil. Once it is warm, remove from the heat and set aside.
  • In a large pot (>4 quarts), add the sugar, corn syrup and water. Use a whisk to gently mix to combine. The mixture will feel grainy, but that is OK. Once combined, dip a pastry brush in a some water and brush down the sides of the pot so that there are no sugar crystals left on the sides of the pot. Do not stir the caramel until the next stage.
  • Place the pot over medium-high heat and insert a candy thermometer into the pot. Make sure that the tip of the thermometer is submerged in the sugar mixture or else you won't get a proper temperature reading. Let the sugar mixture come to a boil (without stirring). You will begin to see the mixture bubble after a few minutes and the mixture will turn from a clear colour to a toasty golden brown colour.
  • Once the sugar mixtures reaches 325 degrees F, remove the pot from the heat. Pour the warm cream and butter mixture into the sugar mixture. The caramel will bubble up quite a bit (which is why it's important to use a big pot) but don't be afraid of it. Once all the cream mixture has been added, whisk the mixture to combine.
  • Next, return the pot to the medium-high heat and let the caramel come to a boil. Do not stir the caramel anymore. You will see the caramel turn from a light brown to a dark red-brown. Bring the entire mixture to 245 degrees F (no higher) and remove from the heat. Next, add in the vanilla extract and whisk to combine.
  • Let the caramel cool for 2-3 minutes to firm up a bit. If you spoon the caramel over the pecans at this point, it will run all over the place.

Assembling the Turtles:

  • Once the caramel is firm and is cool to handle, dip the entire turtle into the melted chocolate to fully coat on all sides. Use a fork to turn the turtle around in the chocolate-- this is much easier and won't get your hands all dirty. Once it is fully coated, place it back on the parchment-lined baking tray and repeat for the remaining turtles. Once they are all coated in chocolate, place the baking tray in the freezer again for 10 minutes to allow the chocolate to firm up.
  • When the chocolate is firm, arrange the turtles on a serving dish and serve to your guests! Note that you can make these up to 4 days in advance and keep them in single layers in an air-tight container. Separate the layers of turtles with parchment paper to prevent any sticking!