Ok, so this might be a little early for Christmas, but I’m bringing the healthy holiday treats anyway! These healthy Homemade Turtles are a total winner in the kitchen and might actually give the real ones a run for their money. (Well, a slow run for their money.)
Turtles used to be one of my favourite holiday treats. My dad used to give them to us every Valentine’s Day and I’d often get them as a little stocking stuffer at Christmas, but as you can imagine, they are not the type of treat that I would opt for nowadays. However, that does not mean that I have lost my love for the ooey-gooey caramel centre, salty pecan crunch and velvety chocolatey melt-in-your-mouth goodness! Lord help me, they are just so good. Fear not, I’ve found a combination that really hits the spot and satisfies that sweet, salty and chocolatey craving.
If you have never tried dates before, I’ve got news for you. 1) Get it together! (Just kidding, it’s all love here folks.) 2) Seriously now, you are missing out. I know you are probably thinking, ‘But aren’t those the fruits used to help relieve constipation?’ Truth, be told, yes they are, but stick with me here. Dates are one of the oldest cultivated fruits and therefore are know to have many healing properties. Today dates are available in grocery stores fresh or dried, and are sweet tasting with a rich chewy texture. Dried dates are often used in baking recipes as a natural sweetener, such as my Trail Mix Bites, but can also be eaten on their own as a little snack. There are a couple of varieties of dates, but the Medjool variety is the sweetest and, when eaten fresh, taste just like toffee. That’s right TOFFEE! Not only do they taste amazing, but are a source fibre, vitamins and trace minerals, and do not spike your blood sugar the same way refined sugar does, making them a great alternative as a natural sweetener.
So, if you have never tried Medjool dates this is your chance. I promise that with their toffee like flavour and chewy texture, paired with crunchy pecans and rich dark chocolate, they make the perfect caramel centre for these healthy Homemade Turtles.
- 12 Medjoool date
- 6 squares dark bakers chocolate (or 1 cup dark chocolate chips)
- 48 pecans
- Sea Salt (rock salt if possible)
- Using your fingers, or a knife if needed, peel open the dates and remove the pits.
- Once the pit has been removed, using your hands press the pitted date into a flat, round shape. The fresher the dates the easier this will be. You want to ‘smush’ them together to create a bit of a ball. The more you ‘smush’ them, the more they will provide a chewy texture to the turtles.
- Once each date has been formed into a circle, press 4 pecan halves into the base of each date. The pecans should emulate the feet of the turtles!
- When the turtles are formed, place them feet down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using parchment paper will make clean-up much easier.
- Using a double boiler (or microwave if needed) gently melt the chocolate squares. You want to do this at a low heat to ensure the chocolate remains velvety smooth, and ensure that you are stirring the chocolate periodically.
- Once the chocolate is melted, pour approximately 1 tablespoon of chocolate over each turtle. If needed, use the back of a spoon to cover the date entirely, you want to cover as much of it as possible.
- Sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt on each date. This step is optional, but the salt helps to bring out the flavour in the chocolate.
- Transfer baking sheet to the fridge for 20-30 minutes until the chocolate has completely solidified.
- Leftovers can be stored in the fridge or frozen for later.