January 25, 2011

turtles? really?

I'm not sure which schmo first dubbed the combination of rich chocolate, soft caramel, and toasted pecans, but I am sure that he could've come up with a much better name than 'turtles.'


Yes, I know certain regions of the world find actual turtles to be a yummy soup meat, but I have zero interest in consuming the critters. Why? I think it's because I feel sorry for them--anything that moves that slowly deserves at least a little bit of sympathy. Am I the only one who's tempted to stop the car and help a turtle cross the road when I drive up to one? Eh, maybe I am.


Moving on. These bars do not contain real turtle, and they are delicious. I'm pretty sure a layer of thick, chocolate-shmeared and pecan-studded caramel atop a shortbread crust is the definition of decadence. The name 'divinity' must've already been taken by those meringue-y candies at that point. Too bad.

Turtle-free Turtle Bars
(based on these)

Crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup pecans

Caramel Layer:
2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
touch o' salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the crust ingredients in food processor or mixer and whirr until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Press onto the bottom of an ungreased 13x9-inch baking pan.
Combine butter, brown sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the entire surface of the mixture begins to boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour evenly over crust.
Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until entire caramel layer is bubbly, being careful not to overbake. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips; allow to melt slightly (2 to 3 minutes). Swirl the chips leaving some whole for a marbled effect. Sprinkle the chopped pecans over the chocolate and press in slightly. Cool completely; cut into bars.

80 comments:

Jelena said...

This reminds me of an English tiffin recipe. Great combination!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I heart bars! What a droolworthy treat.

Cheers,

Rosa

RecipeGirl said...

Chocolatey- Caramelly bars??? I'm in. YUM!

Pam said...

I always stop and help turtles cross the road. I thought I was the only one!

Lynn - A Foodie and Her Family and Crafty Lynn said...

Those look incredible! Turtles are way to cute to be eaten.

Joanne said...

I've never really understood the whole turtle thing either. Someone must have been high when they came up with it.

These bars. I love.

Gloria said...

WOW Grace!! Im literally drooling!! Absolutely fantastic and delicious recipe and pic! xgloria

FOODESSA said...

I hold a special place for the little critters...especially since as a child, I was responsible for the school turtle pet ;o)

Those bars...mummm.
They would have a difficult time making it through the week at my place. My hips would never get over it either.
These are way too sinful Grace...where's the lighter version? LOL

Have a great week and flavourful wishes,
Claudia

kat said...

Oh would my mom ever love these!

Marjie said...

I love turtles. I'm really glad I don't have any caramel in my house, or I'd be starting a batch of these right now.

And ever since a big ol' snapping turtle ate our duck, I've not been such a fan of the animal turtle.

lisa said...

Yum? These are so classically comforting and delicious. Nice job.

Melanie said...

Ha! You are funny, as always. Despite the name, these bars indeed look divine.

Velva said...

No doubt these turtles are delicious. This is one of my favorite combinations for something sweet.

Can we think that they are called turtles because they are best enjoyed slow? Nah.

Velva

Kate said...

Just in time for February...chocolate month!

5 Star Foodie said...

Yep, I always wondered about the name :) These look so scrumptious, yum!

cupcakegirl said...

I've never heard of turtles before especially not that odd name - I do want to eat one though (the bar I mean)

Faith said...

Lol, good question...I wonder how they got their name! I love them no matter what they're called...and yours look fantastic!

vanillasugarblog said...

i can't tell you how many lil critters i help across the road and send them in a safer direction each and every summer.
grace just be a good girl and send these my way? ok.

lisa is cooking said...

The combination of chocolate, caramel, and pecans is hands-down my favorite thing in the world. These are perfection, and now I'm very jealous that I don't have some siting in front of me at this moment!

Susan said...

yes please! I'd probably eat all of the crust before it got into the pan. or maybe just dunk the crust into melted chocolate? Yum!

Joshua said...

These pictures and words really bring back memories. I love some of the chocolates and pastries I find over here, butgrowing up I always went nuts for turtle bars

Barbara said...

Well....I know they are called turtles because originally, pecans stuck out like little turtle legs.
Your bars, however, feet or no feet, are absolutely perfect. Can't beat a combo of pecans, caramel and chocolate. Especially the caramel part.

Julie M. said...

Turtle or no turtle these look pretty darn tasty to me! I absolutely love the combination of chocolate, caramel, and pecans.

Cara said...

If you were considering crack, that's taken too. Check back tomorrow for more information :)

scrambledhenfruit said...

Mmm...I do love turtles. (But I only eat the chocolate kind.) I'm also one of those people who'll stop to take a turtle to the other side of the road. I've heard that you're always supposed to take them to the side where they're headed, or they'll go right back again. These turtle bars look absolutely scrumptious, pecan feet or not!

Lori said...

I have never understood the turtle name either.

shaz said...

I've never had a turtle bar Grace but they sure sound decadent. The closest I've come was at a restaurant a long, long, long time ago, and it was called a chocolate malted turtle, can't remember much about it but I think brownie, ice-cream, choc and caramel sauce was involved.

Going to try these ones out, just so I can say I made some turtles, heh :)

Dana said...

Another recipe that makes me wish I could have nuts in my house. Maybe I'll go make this at my mum's

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Besides I hear turtle doesn't go with chocolate! :P

Catherine said...

Awww! If I saw a turtle, I'd stop the car and adopt him! :) I could never eat a wee turtle, they're so cute and you're right, it would be a liberty as they're so slow :')

I'd eat those turtle bars though! They look terrific!

Lisa-Marie said...

When I first heard and American friend talk about 'turtles' I assumed they were turtle shaped chocolates (like a Guylian seashell but, you know, turtle shaped).

Anyway, now I have shown my silliness, I shall have to make these lovely treats!

bellini valli said...

Turtles did het their name from the chocolate treat that comes from a box. They look like turtles with their pecan legs but are so much more delicious. I have been known to eat an entire box so would have a hard time stopping at one slice of your bar.

Pam said...

Turtles is a strange name for such a wondelful treat.

I am loving these bars! I am afraid that I would eat the whole pan and not share any with my family.

Lynda said...

Yes, turtle doesen't do these bars justice at all. I've always wondered why such a name!
But your turtle bars are calling my name for sure Grace. I must make these!

Mimi said...

Not only have I stopped to help turtles, but on one occasion we stopped to help a small snake that was lost in the asphalt jungle. That aside your turtle bars are a perfect treat.
Mimi

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

Hahah you're most certainly right and I never found the name particularly appealing. Though it does recall a fond memory for me of the first time my grandparents visited us from China and brought home a turtle they found by the road that they wanted to stew for dinner... You may be relieved to hear we made them set it free ;).

The Blonde Duck said...

Man, I really want to eat chocolate right now.

kellypea said...

But you have seen the dollop of chocolate with the pecans making the legs, right? Turtle? They do look like turtles :) Your bars, on the other hand, remind me of the English Toffee I gobbled down this past weekend. I'm thinking that makes these turtle less turtle bars perfect. Try saying that 3 times fast.

Barefoot Belle said...

Well, while I'm not opposed to trying turtle soup (at a reputable restaurant and only in NOLA, mind you), I think these are more up my alley. If only I weren't on a detox from foods like this...

Carolyn Jung said...

Did you ever watch that show, "Everyone Hates Chris,'' about comedienne Chris Rock's childhood? On the show, his Mom's secret pleasure was her box of Turtles. Whenever life got too crazy, she'd settle in with a turtle or two to make everything right. I bet she would go crazy for these. ;)

Just a French Girl... said...

I love turtles.... This just looks toothsome.

Lucie said...

Ha! Your post made me laugh. Your turtle-free turtle bars sound amazing.

tasteofbeirut said...

whatever their name is they are very hard to resist, actually impossible. I am crazy about pecans too, and the combo with chocolate. .wow!!!

A Plum By Any Other Name said...

Too funny. I've been reading about medieval cuisine ... and yes, they did actually did ... eat ... turtles. Glad to see there aren't any in your bars. I'm not so sure they'd enhance the shortbread. ;) They look scrumptious, as always!

Amanda said...

Ha! I love the title. And they look absolutely devour-able! :)

Leslie said...

I have helped a few turtles cross the road in my day..stopping 5 lanes of traffic. I am sure people were not pleased with my humanitarian efforts towards the poor turtle in rush hour traffic.
But I sure do love the eat the candy variety!

Anonymous said...

The combination of chocolate, caramel and pecans does not make something a "turtle". A "turtle" is a candy that is made to look like a turtle.
It is made by first laying down pecans, then laying some caramel on top of that and then finally chocolate on top of that. (picture of them are all over the internet).The pecans are put down in a way on the bottom that they end up looking like the turtle's feet. If they are made correctly, they do look like turtles. And they are delicious.
Janet in Maine

oneordinaryday said...

Oh, how I wish I had a plate of these delights right now. Delicious treat, Grace.

Wanted to say thanks for the good wishes sent out to my sister and her family. The support means a lot.

eatme_delicious said...

Oh my I would love one of these right now!!

vegetarianGIRLSareCUTE said...

I feel guilty by just looking at this!

Matilda@SickOfFood

Kerstin said...

I love any sweet with turtle in the name and these are no exception - YUM!

tamilyn said...

A candy store in my neck of the woods make home made turtles, ones like the kind in the striped box, but a gazillion times better. These Turtle free Turtle bars look quite tempting....a little like English toffee. Must test these bad boys out :)

Kay Heritage said...

This looks so delicious, I won't argue about the name. :)

twobarkingdogs said...

the original candy concotion really does look like a turtle. what you have there is not the original. its not original, but it looks yummy anyway.

Angie's Recipes said...

I only knew the name "turtles" from "everybody hates Chris"...the mother was so crazy for them...and things happened, mother grabbed a turtle...and life was immediately better. :-))
Would love to your version!

Hornsfan said...

These definitely look delicious, darn shame 'divinity' was taken, these could easily qualify for the name...although I do love divinity....

Erica said...

Love the combo!!1 I am craving sweet lately....Printing this one!

Foodycat said...

I've never heard of this stuff - but I think some nice chunky pecans are exactly what millionaire's shortbread needs!

My aunt's dam currently contains a turtle that had been crossing the road. A kind woman stopped the car, picked it up and knew my aunt would give it sanctuary. Apparently they smell very, very bad!

~~louise~~ said...

I too am a turtle saver. Once when I was lost in the hills of Kentucky, I had to bypass what appeared to be millions of little turtles migrating across the road. I guess that's why there was a Turtle Crossing sign in big letters a few miles ahead, lol.

As for naming these tasty treat, the only thing I can think of is when you use pecan halves and the chocolate peeks through it sorta kinda looks like a turtles back. Of course the caramel helps!

Thanks for sharing, Grace!

pigpigscorner said...

LOL what a weird name!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

Hi
I just found your blog and I'm really pleased because you've got great recipe.

This one would be delicious! What great texture contrasts too.

The Teacher Cooks said...

I just had these yesterday at a tennis match! They are wonderful! I am making these in the near future.

kimberleyblue said...

There are pecans in the crust?!? Well, I'm convinced right from the start that I'll love them!

Turtles are my all-time favourite chocolates, so a dessert bar has to be incredible. I like how easy them seem to make too.

The Blonde Duck said...

Have a magical Monday!

Cheryl said...

OH MY GOSH that looks so good and easy enough this slacker would and could make them, thanks for sharing

foodhoe said...

yum, I admit a fondness for those chocolate turtles, although there is a bit sick like chocolate bunnies... although being a foodhoe, that never stopped me

marla said...

I agree with you, I have never understood why these delightful confections are named after a pond dweller. Guess all we need to do is eat them & not think too much about it. Great recipe! xo

Raspberry Valentines Recipes said...

Those look amazaingly scrumptious!! The photograhy is equally amazing! Great site!

Just like the "hedgehogs", why do they call these mouth-watering treats by such undesirable names? lol

Robin Sue said...

I am pleased that no turtles were harmed in the making of these delicious bars. I also save turtles in the street.

culinography said...

I might've stopped to help a turtle or two across the road in my day...

These turtle-free turtle bars look amazing. Now I'm hungry!

Hungry Dog said...

I like turtles too. I feel sorry for them but I also think they are cool. I mean, they have survived! I also like the sound of these turtle-less turtle bars.

Deborah said...

Yes - I think I'll go for the turtle-free kind as well!!

Alyson said...

I just found your blog and I am a new follower. This recipe looks amazing! I can't wait to try it.

Thank you!

-Alyson @ peacefulmamma.blogspot.com

cookies and cups said...

YUMMMM!
I totally help turtles across the road! Except that one time when I tried to help a larger turtle and almost lost a digit. Darn snapper, I was just trying to help you!!

Heidi - Apples Under My Bed said...

hehe, turtle-free turtle bars - good to know! I love turtles too :) I've never hear of these though!
Heidi xo

Sprinkled with Flour said...

Mmmmm, these look very tasty. They are similar to a turtle bar that I make, and it is sooo delicious:)

sweetie said...

did you put the pecans on top of the crust in the ones pictured? your instructions say to combine the pecans w/the flour but i want to make sure that's right since it looks like you sprinkled them in the photo. thanks1

Office Furniture Brisbane said...

I love your Blog but the pounds the pounds! But there again life's for enjoying, its not a rehearsal.

Anonymous said...

These things look gorgeous and I am sure are delicious. I'm bookmarking these to try this weekend.

Christina said...

I just hit print on my computer, these look so good!