Here's a welcomed remix of a classic candy! A traditional chocolate turtle involves plenty of butter, dairy, refined sugar and probably a hearty serving of preservatives, plus they always tended to be stale. But this healthy vegan version is packed with fiber (dates are rich in it) , antioxidants (thanks to dark chocolate), and brain food (pecans are good for your noggin).
Now, I wasn't ever a huge caramel fan - I mean, if we are talking about covering something in chocolate, most of the time I would rather that thing just be more chocolate BUT that all changed when I discovered the magic of dates. Dates are truly natures candy, and hands down better than any caramel I have ever had. They are NATURAL sticky and gooey energy bombs that everyone should incorporate in one way or another, and I hope I can help you out by making them even better with chocolate and pecans.
Not to mention, these sweet little candies come together so much faster than making a traditional turtle from scratch. They are such an easy treat to whip up for a party when you don't have time to bake or cook. And I promise, they will impress all your friends.
Make it your own by adding other fun toppings, flavorings or garnishes - coconut, ginger, nutmeg, cranberries!
Serves: 25 pieces • Prep Time: 20 minutes • Freeze Time: 20 minutes
- 25 small-medium dates, pits removed (I used a variety of different dates from a sample pack via 7hotdates.com)
- Apx. 3/4 of a 9 oz. bag of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips or another vegan dark chocolate
- 1 tsp. coconut oil
- Optional: 1/2 tsp. vanilla, cinnamon, instant coffee, pink salt
- 25 whole unsalted pecans, raw or roasted
1. Prepare a parchment lined baking tray and pit your dates, shape them so they lay flat on the baking sheet.
NOTE: If you are using larger dates, like medjool, one date will easily make two sizable turtles, simply split them in half, remove the pit and place them on the baking tray surface side up.
2. Melt chocolate, coconut oil and optional add in's in a double boiler or in the microwave till totally smooth and runny.
NOTE: If you're using a microwave, nuke for 30 seconds at a time, stirring the chocolate after each round - four or five rounds should get you there.
3. Dip your turtles one by one in the chocolate. I've tried being clean about it and using two spoons but it's honestly easier to use your hands - you can fully coat them or just dip one side if you want a more balanced ratio of date 'caramel' and chocolate. Once coated, place each turtle back on the baking sheet.
4. When you are finished with coating all the pieces, while the chocolate is still wet (don't worry you have time), add one pecan per piece. You can also sprinkle large flaked sea salt here or some cinnamon - I tried both, sea salt for the win.
5. Once finished, transfer your sheet pan to the freezer and allow the turtles to set up for at least 20 minutes, although longer is better. After they are totally solid, you can peel them off the parchment onto your serving tray or into a storage container to serve later.
PRO-TIP: If you plan on leaving these out at a party, it might be a good idea to chill the plate you serve them on as well so they stay a bit cold. The chocolate shouldn't melt but it may get a little soft if you skip this tip.