While walking through the mall the other day, I passed the Purdy's store and admired their Sweet Georgia Browns. These chocolatey treats are a heavenly combination of roasted, light salted pecans smothered with a golden caramel sauce and then topped with milk chocolate. They are very similar to the chocolate turtles we associate with the holiday season only larger in size. The reality is they are typically filled with refined sugars and preservatives that I'd rather avoid. I kept walking on but I couldn't stop thinking about them.
When I got back into my kitchen at home, I was determined to make a healthier homemade variation that tasted just as divine with less sugar and artificial flavours.
After a couple of attempts, I finally cracked the code for these amazing savoury-salty sweet treats. As soon as I ate one, my mind was blown.....soooo good! I was super excited that I had sussed a recipe for a clean eating version of my favorite treats!
I might keep trying to improve these....but they are pretty damn good just as they are. So, I'm sharing the recipe with you! They have it all. The gooey caramel, the pecans along with the hint of saltiness and the caramel sauce.
I knew I wanted to create my version using dark chocolate. We've all heard the good news that eating dark chocolate in moderation is good for you, right? It boasts a high concentration of powerful antioxidants.
But slow down. Not all chocolate is created equal!
Always go for the greater percent of cocoa and the fewest ingredients. For this recipe, I recommend a dark chocolate bar with 70% cacao or higher. Milk chocolate has less antioxidant-rich cocoa and more sugar. Sugar should be the last ingredient on a chocolate bar's list, or at least after cocoa. The dark chocolate bar brands that I have used include Theo, Endangered Species and Green & Black's Organic or Alter Eco. You can purchase any of these at your local grocery store.
Now go break off a square and enjoy your bittersweet multivitamin while you are making my recipe for these Clean Eating Dark Chocolate Pecan Caramel Turtles.
I hope you enjoy my interpretation for these treats! I can't get enough of them. They are definitely a must try!
- 1 pound pecan halves (about 1.5 cups or 72 halves)
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- sea salt to taste
- 1⁄2 cup maple syrup
- 1⁄3 cup coconut cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1⁄4 tsp sea salt
- 2 x 100g bars dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa, preferably unsweetened or with unrefined sweetener)
- 1 tsp coconut oil
Make it Like So
- For the pecans, preheat your oven to 250F.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over your stovetop. Place pecans into a bowl and add melted butter and salt to taste (approximately 1-2 tsp, depending on taste). Stir well.
Pour buttered pecans onto a different parchment-lined baking sheet (not the one chilling in the freezer) and toast in oven for 60 minutes, or until the nuts become aromatic and golden. Remove from oven and set aside.
- For the caramel, place all ingredients into a saucepan over the stovetop and bring to a boil, stirring so that everything is combined.
- Once mixture starts boiling, turn heat on low and simmer mixture for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After 25 minutes, stir the caramel continuously for the remaining 5 minutes, allowing it to thicken.
- Pour caramel in a jar or container and allow it to cool; this will help the caramel thicken up a bit too. The longer you leave it the more it will thicken.
- Melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil together in a double-boiler over the stove and set aside. (You can make a make-shift double-boiler by placing a bowl in a large pot full of water on the stove, and melting the chocolate in the bowl).
- Remove cookie sheet from freezer. Dollop about 1/2 tbsp of melted chocolate into a dozen small circles on your chilled cookie sheet. They will harden quite quickly due to the chilled cookie sheet.
- Immediately place three of the toasted pecans on each of the dollop of chocolate circles, pointing outwards with some of the nut hanging over the side of the chocolate.
- When the caramel has cooled to a thick, but fluid consistency, spoon a tablespoon onto each group of pecans to form the body of the turtle or sweet georgia brown.
- Scoop about 1 tbsp of chocolate over each turtle, leaving some of the pecans exposed. It doesn't need to be tidy. Use the back of a spoon to move the chocolate around if necessary.
- Place in the fridge to set for 20 minutes.
- Serve chilled. These turtles can be kept at room temperature, but the chocolate and caramel may soften and become sticky, so refrigerate to keep them at their best!
- These treats can be stored in a single layer in an airtight container in your freezer.