The first year I was dating my husband I went out to his family farm for the holidays and I got to hang out with his great grandmother, Granny, and help make Christmas cookies.
Just like my Grandmother, she had an assortment of cookie recipes that you could tell were her go-to’s year after year. One of my favorites were these little jelly-filled German cookies, dusted in powdered sugar and filled with a special fruit jelly that she could only buy at specialty markets.
I quickly learned the family favorite of her assortment - the Chocolate Caramel Pecan Turtles, as she stashed away bagfuls for each of her children and grandchildren so they all got their fair share. I don’t think they lasted 5 minutes among any of them.
The pecans from her Turtles were hand-picked, cracked and shelled right there from an orchard of trees on the family farm. We lived at the farm for 10 months while we were building our house and picking pecans with Granny was a favorite activity of my kids, and myself too.
At 90+ years old she rides out there on her Gator with a pecan roller in hand and walks among the old pecan trees and between the five-or-so horses that are constantly roaming the pasture. They like to eat the pecans too.
Then we’d bring the bucket-fulls of pecans back to her house and sit together at the kitchen table to crack them and carefully pick out the meat. She has a little quilted jam jar that sits beside her while she’s cracking for the coveted whole pecan halves that make it out in once piece. This little stash is squirreled away in her storage fridge until she’s ready to make her holiday pecan. Truly the cream of the crop.
Granny has this special little trick of lining up the counter with waxed paper, making her pecan crosses and then heating up the caramel. She has a little bowl of ice water right next to her as she works, quickly dipping her fingers to cool them so as not to burn them, and then right into the hot, melted caramel to place on top each cross. Then a dollop of melted chocolate to finish them off, swatting hungry hands away while she works.
Chocolate Caramel Turtles
- Fresh, whole pecans, shelled + halved
- 2 bags of Kraft caramels
- 1 bag Ghiradelli dark melting wafers
How to cook Chocolate Caramel Turtles
- "Cross" the pecans on a wax-papered cookie sheet using four pecans for each turtle. Melt the caramels in the microwave and carefully pull of a spoonful of caramel, place and flatten onto each pecan cross. Once caramel has been applied to each grouping of pecans, melt the chocolate and spoon a dollop on each turtle to complete. Allow them to firm and dry, then indulge. Enjoy!
I truly hope you’ll give this family-favorite recipe a try. It even inspired our “Pecan Orchard Pleasantries” IceMilk Apron.
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