Pretzel Turtles

DSC_1777First of all, in case you didn’t know, mini pretzels are sweeping the nation. No, really—they are! All you need to do is Google “Pretzel Treats” and you’ll find quadrillions of recipes for various goodies using miniature pretzels (either square or twists) as a base. Pretzel treats are a really perfect for Christmastime because you can use different colors of sprinkles and candies to decorate them, and they’re easy treat to make with young kids. And the center of all of it is a good ol’ salty pretzel, which always makes anything sweet taste a little bit better.

A couple of days ago, I made a quick batch of turtles using mini pretzels. My good friend Jaden has a version on her website using—wait for it—Rolo candies. (See the recipe here. Fabulous!) But since I didn’t have any Rolos on standby, I just took the old school route and used caramels and melting chocolates.

These would be perfect on a tiered cake stand as part of a holiday buffet…or just wrapped in little cellophane bags and given to friends at Christmas.

Or Valentine’s Day.

Or June 11.

 
Pretzel TurtlesAll you need are mini pretzels, caramels, pecans (not shown here because I’m a 44-year-old airhead) and some kind of chocolate. I used a mix I’ll tell you about in a minute, but if you have a good candy store nearby, a good milk chocolate would be perfect.

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesPreheat the oven to 325 degrees and lay mini pretzels all over a baking sheet lined with either parchment paper or a baking mat like this.

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesUnwrap the caramels, and one by one, set them on the pretzels…

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesUntil they’re all covered!

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesNow just pop the pan in the oven for about 4 to 5 minutes or so…

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesUntil the caramels have softened but haven’t started melting all over the universe yet. Keep your eye on them!

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesNow grab some pecan halves. I just got these as a gift, which is one of the things I love about Christmastime. Pecans, pecans, pecans!

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesJust grab a pecan half and carefully press it onto one of the caramels. Press lightly; you just want the pecan to be secured and the caramel to perfectly fit within the pretzel.

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesThen just keep on going until they’re all done! Now you just need to let them cool completely, so set them aside…

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesAnd start melting the chocolate as they cool! I didn’t have any good milk chocolate for melting, so I wound up grabbing some chocolate almond bark…

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesThen grabbing some good bittersweet chocolate I had on hand…

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesAnd mixing that in. I did this because even though chocolate almond bark is great for melting, the flavor doesn’t really scream “Chocolate.” And that’s probably because it isn’t really chocolate. It’s almond bark. Long story.

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesSo basically, I used the almond bark for “filler” and spiked it with a sharper, good-quality chocolate. But this was sort of a wing-it type of thing; once again, just a good quality milk chocolate would be perfection.

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesSo once the pretzel/caramel/pecan thingies are cool, remove them from the tray.

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesThen grab a tablespoon of the melted chocolate…

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesAnd pour half of it on the tray.

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesThen just drop one of the pretzels right on top!

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesThat first one was a little bit, because I used closer to a tablespoons…but the second one, at half a tablespoon, was just right.

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesSo just keep going, drizzling several rounds of chocolate at once…

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesAnd carefully dropping on the pretzels. They’ll sink naturally into the chocolate, so no need to really press them in. Just make sure they stay centered on the chocolate as they settle.

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesThen you just need to let them set! You can do this at room temperature, but expect it to take quite awhile. Or, you can hasten it along by putting the turtles in the fridge for 30 minutes or so; just keep in mind that the caramel will be really firm—too firm to chew—when you first pull it out of the fridge.

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesNow, I did a few of them on a separate baking mat so I could have a little extra fun.

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesI drizzled more chocolate…

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesAll over the top…

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesUntil it was all coated.

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesThen I repeated with the rest of them…

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesAnd popped ‘em into the fridge to cool! This is just a more substantial version of the other ones and keeps the pretzel and caramel “enclosed” in chocolate. It’s also more in line with the original turtle-style candy!

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesEither option is just lovely. The only thing I’d change (and I added this in the printable below) is to toast the pecan halves and let them cool before making the candies. I think that would bump up the flavor even more. And as I’ve said approximately four million times already in this post, good milk chocolate is the way to go.

 
 
 
Pretzel TurtlesYay for mini pretzels!

Here’s the handy printable.

Recipe

Pretzel Turtles

Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Difficulty:
Easy
Servings:
24

Ingredients

  • 24 whole Mini-pretzel Twists
  • 24 whole Individually Wrapped Caramel Squares, Unwrapped
  • 8 ounces, weight Good Quality Milk Chocolate, Melted
  • 24 whole Pecan Halves

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place the pecan halves in a single layer on a baking sheet and put in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes, shaking the pan once halfway through, until they’re lightly toasted. Remove them after they’re toasted and put them on a plate to cool.

Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Arrange the pretzels neatly on the pan, then top each pretzel with an unwrapped caramel. Place the pan into the oven for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the caramels are softened (but definitely not melting.) Remove the pan from the oven.

Gently press a pecan half onto each caramel, just enough for the caramel to fill the pretzel. Set them aside to cool completely.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate. When the pretzel/caramels are cooled, remove them from the baking sheet. Spoon small dollops (1 1/2 teaspoon helpings) of chocolate all over the baking mat, then lightly drop each pretzel onto the middle of each dollop, making sure they’re centered.

Allow them to cool completely before serving (you can hasten this along in the fridge.)

Variation: Spoon a little melted chocolate all over the tops of the turtles to cover the whole thing in chocolate.

Posted by on December 4 2013

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