Chocolate Turtles are a bite-sized treat made with crunchy pecans, caramel, and dark chocolate. Now, you can make a healthier version at home, using only 4 simple ingredients!
Why Is It Called a Chocolate Turtle?
Chocolate Turtles were first introduced in 1918 by Demet’s Candy Company. They are called “turtles” because the pecan pieces sticking out of the dark chocolate topping sometimes look like a cute turtle with a chocolate shell.
How to Make Them From Scratch
The store-bought candy features a gooey caramel over the pecans, but you can make Chocolate Turtles from scratch using something much easier at home– dates!
Have you ever tried date caramel? Dates have a natural caramel-like flavor, and a soft, sticky consistency that make the perfect filling for this recipe. No special equipment needed to make a fancy caramel sauce!
Step #1: To make these healthy chocolate turtles, you’ll start by splitting the dates in half and removing the pit. Make sure you buy soft & squishy dates for this recipe (not ones that look dry in a bulk bin) so they will “stick” to the pecans.
To make a turtle, press 4 pecan halves into each date half, making an “X” shape on top. (Like 4 little turtle legs!)
Step #2: Next, drizzle some melted dark chocolate on top of the pecans. I use about 1 teaspoon per turtle, but you can add as much chocolate as you like.
Just make sure that the pecan “legs” are sticking out a bit!
Step #3: Complete the look by slicing a few pecan halves in half cross-wise, to make a smaller turtle “head.” Press the half into the top of the turtle, and sprinkle with flaky sea salt for a nice contrast of sweet and salty flavor.
Place the turtles in the freezer to set for 15 minutes, or until the chocolate is firm. You can serve these right away, or store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Update Note: I originally posted this recipe in December 2013, but have updated it in 2020 to make the the treat look more like “turtles.” For the original simple version, use only 1 pecan in each date half, then top with chocolate. It doesn’t look like a turtle, but it still tastes just as good!
Easy Chocolate Turtles
- 6 large, squishy Medjool dates
- 54 pecan halves (about 1 scant cup)
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips , melted
- Flaky sea salt
- Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet (use one that will fit in your freezer) and split the dates in half, removing the pits. Arrange them on the baking sheet. This recipe works best if your dates are soft and squishy, but if the dates feel dry, you can soak them in warm water for 15 minutes before getting started.
- Top each date half with 4 pecan halves, making the shape of an "X" on top. Press the pecans into the dates, so they'll stick in place.
- Use a spoon to drizzle about a teaspoon of melted chocolate over the middle of the pecans, making a shell on top. Make sure the pecan legs are still sticking out of the chocolate to create the "turtle" look.
- Cut 6 pecan halves in half, cross-wise, to create smaller turtle "heads." Place one half on each of the 12 turtles that have been coated in chocolate. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt on top, the place the pan in the freezer to set until the chocolate is firm, about 10 minutes.
- Serve the chocolate turtles right away, or transfer them to an airtight container to store in the fridge for up to a week. You can serve them chilled for a crunchy texture, or let them come to room temperature again for a softer consistency.
If you try these Chocolate Turtles, please leave a comment below and let me know how it goes! And if you make any modifications, I’d love to hear about those, too. We can all benefit from each other’s experience.
Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite holiday treat? Be sure to try my easy Vegan Fudge and Chocolate Crinkle Cookies if you haven’t already!