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Chocolate Tortoise (cousin to chocolate turtles)

Picture of Chocolate Tortoise (cousin to chocolate turtles)
These are similar to chocolate turtles only they use hickory nuts instead of pecans and they are a thousand times better.


This started as a simple family tradition of making caramel with hickory nuts around Christmas time, we would go out and find hickory nuts together in the fall then my father would shell them when the time came and we would just sprinkle them on the caramel when we finished, but my father started to experiment and add things like chocolate to make things similar to rolos but then he got the idea to make piles of nuts, add caramel, and dip it in chocolate and thats how this came about.
 
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Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients
Depending on the amount of nuts you have you may want to halve this.

For the caramel you will need:
2 Cups of sugar
1 3/4 Cups of Corn syrup
1 14 Ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 Pound of butter
 1 Teaspoon of vanilla

For the chocolate coating you will need a few bars of you favorite chocolate I got a 6-pack of Hershey's chocolate and i used most of it on a half batch.

For the nuts I recommended you go with hickory nuts  you can get them on Ebay either shelled or unshelled or better yet depending on where you live you can go and out and find a hickory tree in the fall and collect them your self just be ready to shell them. If you don't want to bother with hickory nuts you can juts go with toasted walnuts you can get them at your local mega mart.

You can use as many nuts as you like just adjust the amount of caramel you make or the excess caramel can just be poured into a pan and allowed to cool and be eaten as regular caramel.

Step 2: Tools

Picture of Tools
You will need:

Parchment paper to keep the caramel from sticking to the pan

A candy thermometer to watch the temperature

6 Quart sauce pan to make the caramel

A silicone or wooden spatula to stir the caramel

Metal scoop to spoon out the caramel and chocolate

 A metal bowl to melt the chocolate in

And some sheet pans for to make the tortoises on

Step 3: Making The Caramel

Picture of Making The Caramel
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Before you make the caramel you should make sure you have everything set up properly before you start you will need to make the nuts in to small separate piles on sheet pans lined with parchment paper to spoon the caramel onto. Also if you think you are going to have some extra caramel butter a small baking pan to hold the extra caramel.

To make the caramel mix all of ingredients (except the vanilla) in a 6 quart sauce pan and cook on medium heat string constantly. When it reaches a boil add you candy thermometer and cook until it reaches 220 degrees Fahrenheit once you hit 220 add the vanilla and stir it in. it is important to stir this constantly if you stop it will start to burn on the bottom. Also be very careful boiling sugar is very hot and can burn you badly if it was to get spilled or splashed on you.

Step 4: Spooning Out The Caramel

Once the caramel hits 220 turn the heat down to low stir in the vanilla and start to spoon out the caramel on to the piles of nuts. Once you have all of the nuts covered in caramel you can pour the excess caramel into the buttered baking pan and allow every thing to cool. To get the caramel off of the parchment paper you can place the pans in the freezer to help get them off  of the paper and it will help them cool faster.

Step 5: Chocolate Coating

melt you chocolate however you prefer you can use a double boiler or the microwave but i prefer a heating pad in a bowl with a metal bowl on top ( if you ever watch a cooking show called good eats you know where I got the idea).

Once melted you can dip the tortoises in the chocolate and move them to another sheet pan with parchment paper on it and allow them to dry. then serve them to friends, family, neighbors or anyone else who want one.

Thanks,
Enjoy
I never would have thought of using a heating pad to melt chocolate. That is ingenious! Nice instructable and recipe. I'm gonna have to try this one.
Thanx.