This Dark Chocolate Turtles recipe has been a Christmas staple in my family for generations! These creamy caramel clusters dipped in a smooth dark chocolate shell are the perfect holiday treat to make with the kids while decorating the tree or playing your favorite Christmas movie. The whole family is sure to love these!
What are Dark Chocolate Turtles?
Dark Chocolate Turtles are a smooth caramel mixture that usually includes pecans or another nut of choice (although they are great without them too), coated in a rich chocolate shell.
Cooking caramels- I like the Kraft baking caramels the best for this dark chocolate turtles recipe. I’ve found that these individually wrapped caramels are softer than other brands and combine with the butter easier. Any individually wrapped caramels will work for this recipe though. Steer clear from the baking chips or beads though and these don’t have the same consistency as the individually wrapped ones do once melted.
Chocolate chips- You can use any kind of chocolate for these. I prefer a dark chocolate to cut the sweetness of the caramel but traditionally we make these with a milk chocolate shell.
Chopped Pecans- These are best with bigger pecan chunks in them – not full pecans though. I have made the mistake of using pecan bits instead and it really just though off the whole texture and flavor. You can opt to chop your own pecans or break them in half to get to correct size and texture.
Butter- You can use salted or unsalted butter for these dark chocolate turtles but make sure to choose one that has no oil additives to it. If you do use one with an oil additive (ie. olive oil, canola oil, “spreadable”) the caramel cluster won’t set and harden and it will be a mess trying to dip them in the chocolate coating. I’ve made this error before and believe me, it’s a REALLY big mistake! Save yourself the frustration and just don’t chance it…
Paraffin Wax- I use Gulf Wax. I can usually find it in the cooking or baking aisles. You also really can’t substitute this ingredient. It is essential in order to get the chocolate to harden enough so that you can hold these dark chocolate turtles without a huge mess. This will also keep them from sticking to each other if you choose to save them in a container.
How to make Chocolate Turtles
- Unwrap all of the caramel squares and put them into a large microwave safe bowl.
- Microwave the caramel squares and butter until the caramel mixture is smooth and easy to stir. Make sure to take it out and stir it every 30 seconds to prevent burning. Once the butter is melted and the caramels are almost melted all of the way, it will look like you have too much butter. (Like, WAY too much butter!) This is normal. You need the butter to soften the caramel and add some richness to the flavor. Check out the video in the recipe below to see how the consistency should look at this point.
- Once the caramels and butter are completely melted and combined, fold in the pecans and scoop “turtles” about 1 inch in diameter – this is the size that I have the servings estimate calculated from. You can make these any shape and/or size that you want! I have never had trouble with them turning out no matter how big i make them. Place the undipped dark chocolate turtles on a sheet of parchment paper that is sprayed with non-stick cooking spray to prevent sticking.
Make wax chocolate and dip!
- Combine your paraffin wax and chocolate chips in another microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals. Again, make sure to stir every 30 seconds to prevent burning. The chocolate will usually melt before the wax. You can chop the wax into thin slices to help prevent it from taking too long to melt. Continue heating in 30 second intervals until both are melted and well combined.
- Dip the caramel clusters in the chocolate and place on a new, clean sheet of sprayed parchment paper. Let the chocolate turtles cool for 5 minutes to allow the chocolate shell to harden.
- Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
If you enjoyed this recipe, be sure to check out some of my other dessert recipes too!