I believe several Scissorheads have professed their undying love to Mary (full disclosure: I know her, have taken classes from her, adore her) following her epic video Just put the F****in’ turkey in the oven, and so here is her recipe for Chocolate Turtles.
These things are fantastic, crunchy pecans, gooey caramel, decadent chocolate, and if you are a good shopper, you can make scads of these things at very little cost. I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t love them. The big deal is the pecan: find the best, freshest pecans you can. Right now is an excellent time to buy them. The harvest is in, the shelves got cleared out for Pecan Pie at Thanksgiving.
Here’s the thing to note: if you do not have a candy thermometer–buy one–or really study the color and behavior of the caramel in the video. You really can tell the stage of the candy by color. It talks to you, too: there is a sound it makes when it goes from one stage to another. Use all of your senses. (Except touch, and even then there are some Chefs who do touch the stuff. Don’t be one of them.)
Take the pan off the heat a little earlier than she says if you are using Enamel/cast iron or cast iron only. Cast iron (with enamel) will continue to cook long after you remove it and achieve the right color. Darker will not wreck it by any means, but it freaks people out. It still cleans up with hot water as she demonstrates.
If you make them, let us know your experience. I checked out the Big Candy Chain store and they sell turtles for a buck each (one pecan!) — you can do this.