Recently, in an online conversation, I mentioned chocolate turtles. My friend Lori Schokman said she hadn’t had those in ages. I love this easy recipe, so I’ll post it here, in honor of Lori — who lives on the other side of the planet from me, where it is already next year.
Chocolate Turtles - easy, vegan, gluten-free and super yummy!
- 1 cup non-dairy chocolate chips I like Equal Exchange semisweet
- 1/4 cup pecan pieces
- 3 big Medjool dates or 5 deglet noor dates
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Melt 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips in a bowl or cup in the microwave. To melt them, heat them for 30 seconds, then stir, and repeat as needed until they are barely warm.
- Meanwhile, set up a nonstick surface. You can use a silicone mat, parchment paper, or a cut-open ziplock bag. Whatever surface you choose, it is important to put it on a surface such as a cutting board or cookie sheet, to make it easy to lift.
- Using an ordinary teaspoon, make 20 circles of chocolate on the nonstick surface, about an inch and a half wide, leaving some space in between them.
- Now pick out the longest pecan pieces and put six of them on each turtle, evenly spaced, to be the head, tail, arms, and legs of the turtle. Each pecan piece should be placed mostly on top of the chocolate, but it should reach out a little beyond the chocolate's edge.
- Now put the tray of chocolates in the refrigerator until the chocolate has hardened. This takes about ten minutes.
- Meanwhile, while the chocolate hardens, mix up the vegan caramel sauce: In the smallest jar of a sturdy blender (I adore this one), blend the dates, water, maple syrup, canola oil, and vanilla extract, until a smooth sauce forms. You may need to add some extra water. The vegan caramel sauce should have the consistency of applesauce.
- Take the tray of turtles out of the refrigerator. Use an ordinary teaspoon to put about a teaspoon of caramel sauce in the middle of each turtle, and smooth it out a little.
- Melt the other 1/2 cup of chocolate.
- Use a spoon to spread 1-2 teaspoons of chocolate on the back of each turtle, like a turtle shell.
- Return the tray of turtles to the refrigerator and let the chocolate harden. Then they are ready to eat!