Give your sweetie these delectable candies and learn how to make the most delicious homemade caramel from scratch. The ultimate Valentine’s Day treat!
Chews, Buds or Bear Claws – these are just a few names for the confectionery combination of caramel, chocolate and nuts. I’ve always admired these candies – whether on the West Coast at See’s Candies, or the East Coast at Li-Lac Chocolates.
Yummy Chocolate Caramel Turtles… Love is in the Air!
S0, I was determined to strap on my candy thermometer onto my one quart All- Clad pot, to tackle the art of real homemade caramel – which would be added to nuts and chocolate, creating “turtles.”
What I found out, after tossing a few undesirable batches, was a fool-proof method. The ingredients were all natural, in fact, I used all organic. Most importantly – to the beginner, would be candy-makers, it’s the temperature of the caramel that proves a successful batch.
Many recipes include canned milk (sweetened condensed milk) in the ingredients list for caramel. I have found the old-fashioned heavy cream more desirable, for consistency and flavor.
The ingredients I use are all natural – and produce a luscious, creamy caramel, and outstanding flavor. I do not use corn syrup, but organic brown rice syrup – which I much prefer. Other ingredients are: coconut palm sugar, pure cane sugar, unsalted butter, vanilla and Fleur de sel salt.
Back to the temperatures… the “soft ball stage” is well marked on your candy thermometer. As the caramel cooks, when the temperature rises 235 degrees to 245 degrees it is the “soft ball” stage. If you take out a small amount of caramel as it cooks, and drop it into cool water – the caramel, when you put in-between your fingers will be firm enough to create a “ball” of caramel.
For my recipe of Homemade Natural Caramel, raise the heat to 238 degrees. Take off the heat and pour into another small, heavy pot. The caramel is ready, as it is cool enough to handle to make the turtles (the caramel is used for the “bodies” of the turtles.) Why pour into another pot? For a batch of turtles, it might be necessary to soften the caramel, and so it takes only a few seconds to slightly warm if it gets too firm.
Many nuts can be used to make turtles. I found that pecans, walnuts and cashews are the most delicious… but walnuts make the most life like looking turtles with their uneven, irregular shapes.
There will be leftover caramel in the recipe, I use the remainder to make individual soft caramel candies wrapped in waxed paper. These will last a few weeks… although they will be too delicious to resist.
Also see: Chocolate Lava Cakes with Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles – another fabulous Valentine’s Day treat.
Enjoy this recipe ~ share these delicious, homemade confections with someone you love!