Candies, Caramel, Chocolate, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Nuts

Sea of Love – Turtles, and a little salt

2013 Hay Garden - Get them bales ready

It all started with a recent outing to Helen, Georgia. I had stopped in at Hansel & Gretel’s Fudge Shop (honestly, that’s the name…) because..well, really just because I smelled heavy, dark cocoa… and I needed a sugar fix. In the shop, back in the very last display case, were three trays of dark chocolate and milk chocolate Turtles with Sea Salt. I really get off on opposite parings – sweet / salty, bitter / tangy, sour / savory – and I had enjoyed a box of some salted caramels that I had been given as a thank-you gift. So the little salt sprinkled knobs of chocolate called to me from behind the glass.

Sea Turtles drying on the rack

They were…ok.
I expected them to be saltier. I really wanted to have layers of sweet / salty flow over my tongue awakening my taste buds… I didn’t get that. I got a lot of chocolate with a little salt on top.

all packaged up

I came away from Helen thinking I can do that better. ..

  • I can give the turtles dimension by poaching the pecans in sea salty water and then toast them for a nice satisfying crunch.
  • I loved the intensity that the salted caramels had – so a tiny sprinkling of sea salt on the  gooey caramel center would fix that.
  • And finally,  top them off with a healthy crystalline coating of varying sized salt crystals scattered across the top of the chocolate shell.

And – I wanted to make them Dairy – Gluten – Casein Free… just to make things interesting.

So – I’ve based the caramel heavily on Heidi @ Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom’ Dairy / Casein Free Chewy Caramel, you can follow the link through to the original recipe and her site. The recipe below will reflect  my changes.

Sea Turtles
Makes 36 Turtles
Ingredients and Steps


First, the Salted Pecans:
2 Cups Pecan Halves
2 Cups Water
2 Tablespoons Sea Salt
Large Sauce Pan
Preheat the oven to 250
Non Stick Baking Pan
3 Large Sheets of Parchment Paper
Bring the water, pecans and salt to a boil in the pot.
Boil for a full 2 minutes, then set the pot off and allow to cool to warm.
Drain, spread the nuts  in a single layer on the pan and bake for 2 hours at 250
You will need to turn the nuts occasionally to speed up the drying / toasting process
Cool and set aside
Place the pecan pieces in star patterns on the parchment paper

Next, Caramel:

1 Cup Smart Balance “Lite” Butter Substitute
2 1/4 Cups Packed Brown Sugar
1 Cup So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer (Unflavored)
1 Cup So Delicious Coconut Milk
1 Cup Agave Syrup
1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Paste
Large Sauce Pan
Candy Therometer
Spatula
Glass or Pyrex Cooling Bowl

In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter substitute over low heat
Add the brown sugar, So Delicious Coconut Milk and Creamer, and syrup – stir to mix well
Cook over medium-high heat until mixture boils – stirring constantly
Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan
Reduce heat to medium; continue boiling at a moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the thermometer registers 248°F –  that’s “firm ball stage” but the caramel wotn actually make a firm ball, just trust the temp.
Watch temperature carefully during the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking as temperature can increase quickly at the end.
Remove saucepan from heat and remove the thermometer.
Stir in vanilla.
Quickly pour mixture into the cooling bowl and bring to room temperature
Spoon 1 Teaspoon of the caramel into the center of each pecan “star”
Sprinkle the top of the caramels with a little sea salt
Allow to cool completely

And Finally, Chocolate
Do this in 2 batches –  (Which means Double every thing below) one for each side
2 lbs Semi Sweet Chocolate Bars (or Pieces)
2 Tablespoons Smart Balance Lite
1 Teaspoon Vegetable Shortening
Medium Microwave-proof Bowl
Spatula

Place all the ingredients into the bowl and microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds
Remove and stir – stir – stir until the chocolate is silky and glossy
Flip the turtles upside down on the racks and coat the underside completely with chocolate
Allow to cool completely

Next:

Flip the right-side up, repeat the chocolate preparation with the second batch and coat the top-side of the turtles
Sprinkle a nice amount (depending on just how sweet/salty you like things) of sea salt on top and allow to cool and set overnight

9 Comments

  1. I found your blog after you liked my Facebook page, and man am I glad I did (or that you did, or both!). I'm lactose and casein intolerant, so I can't wait to try these! Although they may not be quite as pretty! The smell from that fudge shop gets me every time…

  2. they DO kick butt! The recipient of the box has been talking about them ever since she got them

  3. Suzi, thanks for visiting! I have several good friends that are Casein intolerant, lactose intolerant, celaic – so I'm always trying to add things in that fit into their diet restrictions. I'll be popping in on your place this weekend to look around

  4. and you know what's best? you don't even miss all that butter and cream – they're still incredibly rich… and gooey

  5. So disappointing when you make a purchase you so look forward to and it just doesn't live up to expectations. The turtles look fabulous! salty, sweet, crunchy, gooey….mmmmmm I love turtles.

  6. Hi, I just found your site and how cool are these, my favorite turtles and they are dairy free, yeah. I have got to tyr making these. Nice meeting you and these delicious treats.

  7. Turtles are awesome but your recipe kicks butt – they look so warm and drizzl and salted caramelly :DYum!CheersChoc Chip UruLatest: Colossal Caramel Peanut Monster Cookies

  8. that looks yummzy.. caramel and pecan alwas good to combine and I love the savory taste that came out from coconut milk, fabulous delish!cheers

Comments are closed.