Whether for yourself or to give as a gift, homemade chocolate pecan turtles are a delicious treat that comes together quickly and is super easy to make.
With their gooey caramel, crunchy pecans, rich chocolate, pecan turtles have always been one of my favorite candies. They’re my top pick in any chocolate shop and great to make and give at Christmas time.
We’re taking a shortcut with these candies, leaving out the make-your-own caramel part. Why deal with corn syrup, heavy cream or a candy thermometer and make your own caramel when you can cut out the hardest part and buy caramels at the store?
This chocolate turtles recipe is super easy, yet still creates delicious, homemade candies. (Want to make your own homemade caramel? Try these Salted Maple Whiskey Caramels from my friend Gina at Intentional Hospitality.)
- Store-bought caramels - The classic, square Kraft caramels are my go-to because they're easy to find, but feel free to substitute your favorite soft caramel.
- Pecan halves - Choosing pecan halves is important here as they give both flavor and structure to the candy. Skip the smaller pecan pieces.
- Chocolate chips - I love Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips for this recipe, but you can use whatever chocolate chips you prefer.
- Coconut oil - This gives extra gloss and a smooth texture to the melted chocolate chips.
How to Make Pecan Turtles
Heat oven to 225 degrees.
Unwrap caramels and place them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
Place in the oven for 3-5 minutes or until the caramels are softened and starting to melt.
Remove caramels from the oven. While they’re still hot, carefully press 4 pecan halves into each caramel.
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and coconut oil.
Melt chocolate chips by microwaving the chocolate in 20 second intervals, stirring after each interval, for a total of 80 seconds.
Stir chocolate chips until smooth.
Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of melted chocolate over each of the caramel pecan clusters. Create a little swirl on the top of the chocolate with the tip of your spoon as you finish the chocolate on each cluster.
Set aside and allow chocolate to set/solidify. This will take 2-3 hours at room temperature, depending on the heat and humidity in your house.
Carefully remove from parchment paper and store in an airtight container lined with a layer of parchment for up to 5 days.
How to Store Turtle Candies
Your homemade turtles will stay fresh and delicious for up to 5 days when stored at room temperature in an airtight container. Set them on layers of parchment paper or put each turtle in a cupcake liner before storing so they don't have a chance to stick together.
- Use fresh, soft caramels for this recipe. The caramels will retain the softness they have in the package, so consider this when purchasing caramels for this recipe. I usually use Kraft caramel squares, but they aren’t as soft as others and give my candies a chewy caramel texture. No matter what brand of caramels you pick, don’t use caramels that have been hanging out in your pantry for 6+ months. They’ll be way too hard for this recipe.
- After you’ve spooned on the chocolate, sprinkle a little coarse sea salt on top of the candies for a delicious variation. (I HIGHLY recommend doing this!)
- If you’re in a hurry, you can place the turtles in the refrigerator for 1 hour to set faster. Bring them back to room temperature before serving, storing, or enjoying.
- Homemade chocolate turtles make great gifts for the chocolate lover on your list. Packaging them in small treat boxes or tins makes them feel extra special.
FAQs and Substitutions
The coconut oil is optional, but will make the chocolate come out nice and shiny. If you don't have coconut oil on hand, you can leave it out or substitute unflavored vegetable shortening for the coconut oil.
You can use any combination of chocolate chips in this recipe. Using all semi-sweet chocolate chips will create a dark chocolate turtle. A combination of milk chocolate chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips is also nice for these pecan turtles.
If you don’t like pecans, try whole cashews or large pieces of walnuts instead.