Monday, December 7, 2009

Millie's Turtles

You can't have Christmas in my house without homemade turtles. This is another recipe handed down from my mom, Millie. Of course, her turtles always turn out better than mine. I am getting better at the caramel - years of practice paying off. Don't be afraid to try this recipe. With the right tools, equipment and time, you can turn out beautifully delicious homemade caramel turtles.

First some tips and pointers:
Use a heavy bottomed pan. I use a great old copper pot that I got at an estate sale years ago. Copper is the best conductor of heat. Use the heaviest pot you've got, even a pressure cooker pot will do.
Also, use a good candy thermometer. You have to cook the caramel until it reaches the soft ball stage. You can't guess - it must reach the soft ball stage and you have to cook it s-l-o-w. Basically, you must stir and stir and watch the candy thermometer. When you think you can't stir anymore, when you think your arm is going to fall off, then you are almost at soft ball stage (approximately 238 degrees). Most good candy thermometers will have the soft ball stage indicated on the side.
Lastly, don't try to make caramel when it is humid out. Humidity is the death of good caramel - it won't set up. A dry day is best. Don't make this recipe on a rainy day, it really could affect the results.

This recipe makes about 40 nice sized turtles.

Millie's Turtles

Foil cupcake holders
2 sticks of real butter (please do not even think of using anything but real butter)
2 C light brown sugar
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (I use Eagle Brand)
1 C white Karo syrup
12 oz semi sweet chocolate

Prepare the foil wrappers - separate about 40 foil cupcake holders and place on rimmed baking sheets. Spray each foil holder with a generous amount of nonstick spray. Place 2-3 large pecan pieces into each foil cupcake holder.
In a heavy pot, place 2 sticks of butter and 2 cups of light brown sugar.

Over medium heat, melt the butter and sugar. Just before the mixture begins to boil, add 1 cup Karo syrup and the can of sweetened condensed milk. Over medium heat, stir and cook the caramel mixture and bring it to a slow boil - stirring constantly. Using a candy thermometer, continue to stir and cook the caramel over medium low heat until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage. Do not rush this process, it will take over 15 minutes or so of stirring. Be careful stirring the caramel, it can burn easily.
Once the caramel hits the soft ball stage (238F), remove the caramel from the heat. Working quickly, ladle the caramel into the prepared foil cupcake holders. I use about 1/8 C. of caramel per turtle.
Let the caramels harden up and set (about an hour). Melt the chocolate chips over a double boiler and swirl a generous dollop of chocolate onto each caramel. Allow to firm up before placing in containers to store. Keeps at room temperature about a week or you can keep them in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

On a holiday platter

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