I made these turtles as a present for my family last year on Christmas and they requested I make them again this year. And by requested, I mean demanded. But I was happy to oblige because these are delicious and I get to opportunity to taste test them before the big day.
I’m a huge fan of rich, chewy caramel, but it’s hard to find a vegan version that compares to the non-vegan kind. Cocomels are the only ones I’m aware of, although there could be more. I used this same caramel recipe in my birthday dacquoise, but it’s originally from Fork and Beans. If you’ve never made homemade caramel before, here’s a disclaimer: it’s easy to screw up. Trust me, I’ve screwed it up multiple times and I have made this recipe a LOT.
A few tips for your success include:
- low and slow is the way to go. Don’t try to heat it too fast, because it will burn to the bottom of your pan and ruin it forever. Not like I’ve had experience with that.
- use parchment paper in the pan. Aluminum foil and wax paper will not work. You’ll end up peeling them off the caramel while trying to salvage any bits of caramel and it’s just really messy. Seriously, I haven’t done this a few times either.
- don’t try to use an immersion blender if the emulsion breaks. Caramel is hot. Like over boiling temperature hot. If you stick a blender in it, it’s going to splash onto your arm and burn you. Definitely don’t try this. See the first tip on how to avoid the emulsion breaking.
- don’t expect it to be as firm as non-vegan caramel. Unless you have a candy thermometer, it might get firmer. I haven’t been able to successfully get it that firm. Let me know if you do.
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup vegan butter, like earth balance
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (Trader Joe’s brand is vegan)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 100 pecan halves
- Heat coconut milk, sugar, maple syrup, and vegan butter in a small, thick bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and continue to boil until softball stage, around 250°F. Check by dropping a small amount in a cup of cold water. Take off heat and stir in vanilla extract.Pour into a pan lined with parchment paper and cool for about 10 minutes. Refrigerate for about an hour.
2. Line a large pan with wax paper. Circle pecan halves up with 5 halves in each circle. Use a spoon to scoop out hardened caramel onto the pecan halves. Caramel will be a bit soft! Mold with clean hands into circles if necessary.
3. Freeze overnight, or for a few hours. Melt chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave on 15 second intervals. Dip frozen caramel and pecan clusters into the chocolate and place back on wax paper. Refrigerate.