Sunday, July 19, 2009

Easy Peasy Chocolate Caramel Turtles



Let me tell you a story. My grandmother worked in a candy store for a number of years. In fact, that's where she was working the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. She and her two coworkers spent most of the day crowded around their radio in the kitchen. My grandmother worked at the candy store through the war while she waited for my grandfather to come home. Because of all the time she spent in the candy store, she learned how to tell what was inside a chocolate-covered candy without squeezing or biting into it. As a child I was amazed by her skill. I swore she had super powers.

After all her work in the candy store, there were some chocolates that she couldn't stand the sight of. She hated chocolate-caramels, or Turtles, and always gave them to me. I loved them, and I loved them so much that I tried to deter my kid sister from eating. I tried everything, and I often convinced her that I was looking out for her by eating the Turtles myself.

"No...remember? You hate them!"
"I do?"
"YES! You hate them. I'll eat the Turtles, and you can eat the mystery candy."

Sisterhood. It's a beautiful thing.

I saw these months ago on Giada's show and tucked them away to try later. I made them this weekend to pass at the family picnic, and they were pretty popular. I'd still make a few changes. but ultimately these are a crowd pleaser.

Chocolate & Caramel Turtles
(Adapted from Giada DiLaurtentiis)

1/2 c. slivered almonds
24 individually wrapped caramel candies
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. milk chocolate chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 2 mini muffin tins with butter.

Place 1 teaspoon of almonds in each muffin cup. Cut each caramel into quarters and place 4 quarters--one caramel candy--in each muffin cup on top of the almonds.

Bake in oven until caramel is just melted and beginning to spread, about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on them and remove them from the oven the minute the start to bubble. Allow them to cool slightly, and insert a butter knife carefully into each muffin cup between the caramel and muffin cup, and pull the caramel away from the side of the cup. This will make it easier to remove the caramel later (trust me). Once cooled, remove the carmel from the tins and set aside.

Melt the semi-sweet chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat. Using a fork, dip half the clusters into the chocolate and place on parchment paper. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes to harden.

While the first batch hardens, melt the milk chocolate. Dip the clusters in the milk chocolate, place on parchment, and place in the fridge for 20 minutes to harden. Bring clusters to room temperature before serving.

Notes:
  • Bringing the clusters to room temp. is important or they'll be too hard.
  • If the caramel bubbles and burns, it'll be too hard to eat and they'll be harder than they are gooey.
  • Adding a little vanilla to the melted chocolate will add some depth of flavor.
  • Please excuse my picture...they melted a little after transporting them. Oh well.

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