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My hubby’s favorite Valentine’s gift. You can make your turtles with hand-made carmel from scratch (recipe follows) or with packaged caramels.

1 (14 oz.) pkg. caramels (or prepare from scratch, recipe follows)
2-4 tbsp. whipping cream
1 tbsp. butter
1 (5 oz.) pkg. pecan halves (or honey roasted peanuts)
1 c. dark, semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips

Arrange pecans in groups of three on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

In a double boiler heat caramel and 2 tbsp. of whipping cream over simmering hot water. Stir after 5 min. and then every few minutes until melted and smooth, adding more cream only if mixture is too thick. Takes about 10-15 min. Spoon about 1 tbsp. of the warm caramel over the nuts. refrigerate uncovered, 30 min.

Place chocolate in a double boiler over simmering hot water and stir until melted and smooth, being careful not to get water into the chocolate. Spoon enough chocolate over each caramel to cover. Allow to cool. Store in a single layer in a tightly covered container in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Makes 2 dozen.

Hand-made Caramel
(Note: this recipe is for vanilla caramel, but 1 tsp. flavoring or extract can be substituted, including raspberry, rum, anise, coffee or 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate.)
1 c. sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
1 c. heavy cream
¼ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter
6 tbsp. evaporated milk
2 tsp. vanilla

Oil a sheet pan or marble slab.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, cream and salt in heavy saucepan and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Cook to 232° F., stirring occasionally to form a very soft ball. Add butter and evaporated milk alternatively, and a little at a time and stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Cook to 242°-244° F. to make a firm ball. Test in cold water after 240° F. to determine the consistency desired.

Remove from heat and add vanilla, stirring only enough to blend. Pour to a depth of about ¾” onto oiled pan or slab, do not scrap the bottom of the cooking pan. When caramel is firm, cut with a sharp knife to 3″-4″ squares and wrap in waxed paper or cellophane.


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