If only I had taken a picture. But Shabbos was early, one of the earliest of the year. And now, they’re all gone. I hope that tells you how yummy these are. Like, “I can’t-believe-these-are-pareve” yummy.
Imagine hunks of gooey caramel, topped with lightly toasted pecans and just the right amount of dark chocolate. You know, sort of like Turtles? Except these guys are easy to make at home, out of regular coconut milk. And no, they really truly do NOT taste like coconut. (Not that I mind the taste of coconut; it’s the texture I can’t stand.)
I usually hate nonstick, but I happen to have this heavy-duty nonstick muffin top pan. This also comes in handy before Rosh Hashanah to make honey cake tops, which are absolutely divine. You could also use a whoopie pie pan, or make these in silicone baking cups.
I also recommend a good thermometer, the kind you’d use for candy making. I used my regular bread thermometer, but I don’t recommend this. A candy thermometer comes with a clip so you can leave it in the pan. Plus, it won’t melt like mine does when the body of the thermometer gets super-hot.
(NOTE TO SELF: Buy candy thermometer!)
You’ll start with this Coconut Milk dulce de leche recipe, which in itself is utterly fabulous. We’re going to change it up just a bit. First, I halved the recipe to get the following:
- 1 can (14oz?) unsweetened coconut milk (don’t try with low fat or all-cream or any other variation)
- 3/4 cups (packed) sugar (I used white; it calls for golden brown)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (it calls for coarse kosher salt)
That’s the caramel. You’ll also need, for finishing the Turtles:
- 24-30 pecan halves, toasted
- 1/2 bag chocolate chips
- Whisk coconut milk, sugar, and salt in heavy large pot (I used my big pareve dutch oven) over medium heat until sugar dissolves. You want a large pot because the coconut milk foams up while it’s cooking.
- Once the sugar has almost dissolved, I put the lid on for a couple of minutes to wash down the sugar from the sides of the pot. After that, I stopped stirring. I am becoming a very disciplined candy-maker, kind of.
- Now, without stirring, uncover and boil the mixture on medium-low until the temperature reaches 250 degrees (Fahrenheit). Turn off heat. You’ll have to do a few things right away, so I hope you’ve read ahead and are prepared:
- Immediately stir in a half tsp of vanilla extract, if desired.
- Immediately, spoon the mixture evenly into 12 non-stick muffin cups or candy thingies or a pan like my muffin-top pan where they can be separate.
- Immediately press 2-3 pecan halves onto each of the 12 candies you’ve created.
- Okay, now you can relax a bit.
- Melt the chocolate chips very gently. I had just finished baking challah and turned off the oven, so I put them in a pie plate in the (turned-off) oven and let them sit for a few minutes. When they were nearly all melted, I took the pan out and stirred the chips a few times until the final ones melted and I had creamy, smooth chocolate.
- Time to decorate the Turtles!
- You can either spoon the chocolate over the Turtles directly or pour it into a baggie and pipe it on top. It’ll look nicer if you pipe it and you may get a thinner layer with better coverage. Pipe pretty swirls and circles on top of every candy, covering the pecan and caramel layers with chocolate.
- Place in the fridge or freezer to set. Remove 10 minutes before serving to allow them to thaw (the one in the picture above has “pencil shaving” marks where I tried to remove it from the pan to take its picture while it was still frozen. Be patient, grasshopper. You must wait to remove these (though they might come out of silicone cups sooner).
HINT: If you want to get really fancy, melt some white chips as well and drizzle both colours!
Turtles should stay solid at room temperature if they’re left out longer, but they might turn gooey if they were left out for a really extended time. Gooey is not a bad thing, I’m just saying.
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