Monday, December 22, 2008
I Like Turtles -- Turtle Candy That Is!
Are you guys familiar with the young boy who, on live TV, uttered those three words, “I like turtles”? Last year, the youngster in question had just gotten his face painted like a zombie for Halloween when a TV reporter asked him during a live news segment what he thought of his face painting (or something like that). The young boy, having never been interviewed by a TV crew before, stoically blurted his now cult like famous words ... “I like turtles.” It was priceless. Have you seen it? The news reporter kind of stumbled for a moment before regaining her composure and the segment came to an end. This took place here in Portland, and I remember watching it live when it happened. It is now a You Tube phenomenon. Just do a quick Google search with the words I like turtles and you, too, can join the millions who have given this boy his 15 seconds of fame!
Today’s recipe deserves its own cult following. Do you like turtle candies? These little gems are a trio of pecans, caramel, and chocolate. When I was growing up, my mom always made sure that my dad received a box of turtle candies for Christmas. It was a special thing, and to this day, I always remember how happy the whole family was when my dad unwrapped his candy box. I’m big for rituals like that. Little things that families do for each other year and year that brings a smile to everybody’s faces. We had lots of them. Just little things, but they meant a lot. What rituals do you have?
So, as I’ve been snow bound for a week and the Christmas holiday is well, right around the corner, I’m scratching my head wondering what I can give my dad for Christmas. He’s always been really hard to buy for. He’s the type that when asked what he’d like, he always says ... “A smile on my girls’ faces is all I want.” He means it, too. He’s not a materialistic guy at all, and would much rather receive a homemade card than a store bought one. Anyway, with that in mind and with the stores being closed anyway due to the weather, it was time to get creative. The turtle ritual came to mind, and so I thought ... why not make them?
A quick internet search provided about 3 million recipes to choose from, and they were pretty much all the same. This is super-d-duper easy and the results, well, let’s just say that I have to guard the ones I made because my family is trying to eat the gift!!! This is by far the easiest thing ever to make. All you need is:
Wrapped caramel candies (I used Kraft)
Chocolate chips (I used a mixture of semi sweet and milk chocolate)
Preheat your oven to 300 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Unwrap the caramels.Arrange 3 pecan halves into a star shape cluster, and place a caramel on top of the center of each cluster. Put into the oven for about 5 minutes or until the caramel have softened and mostly cover the pecans.
The tips of the nuts should stick out. Remove from the oven, and use the back of a spoon to help spread the caramel if needed. Allow to cool completely.This is the underside of the candies. See how the caramel “glues” the nuts together? Melt chocolate chips in the microwave or over a double boiler.Spoon the melted chocolate over the cooled caramel. Don't worry about making them neat and tidy. The swirls and patterns of each individual candy are prettier than a uniform look. Allow the chocolate to fully set, store in the fridge, and fight off family members trying to steal the candies.Just look at these babies (ignore the nails that still desperately need a manicure)! Oh, and these turtle goodies are gluten free all the way, baby!
In addition to making a great gift, they also would be a welcome addition to a holiday buffet, and, of course, Santa would love these in lieu of cookies.
Speaking of Santa, he’ll need chains on his sleigh to deal with the ice in my yard. We have just about a foot of snow that is covered with a thick layer of ice.Here is a picture of my snowmen holding up the top layer of ice from our yard. Yep, they are outside at night. Snow is a big deal here and this is the most snow we have EVER had. It’s so bright outside at night that the kids wanted to go play by the snow glow! Did you ever do that when you were a kid? Oh, and happy winter solstice everyone!