These vegan freezer pecan turtles are the most addicting healthy treat! They are easy to make and everyone will love them.
Dark chocolate pecan turtles are my new obsession. Chocolate + caramel + nuts = heaven in a few sweet bites. We had some of the best turtles ever from a candy shop here on Cape Cod recently, and they’ve been on my mind ever since.
These freezer turtles are a healthier version that you need to make ASAP if you love them as much as I do. They are free of refined sugar, as they are sweetened naturally with homemade date caramel. In addition, these treats are vegan and gluten free!
What’s in vegan freezer pecan turtles?
You need just 7 whole food, simple ingredients to make these delicious turtles.
Dark chocolate: We melt the dark chocolate to coat the turtles in chocolatey goodness.
Pecans: Traditional turtle recipes call for pecans, and I love them. If you prefer other nuts, you can try something else like almonds, walnuts, or peanuts. I used roasted and salted turtles in this recipe.
Medjool dates: Fresh and soft medjool dates work best in this recipe, as you’ll blend them up into a smooth paste.
Non-dairy milk: We add this to the date caramel to make it super creamy and spreadable.
Maple syrup: A touch of maple syrup adds a little more sweetness and enhances the caramel-y flavor of the dates.
Maldon sea salt: Consider this flaky sea salt the icing on the cake in this recipe! It really brings the flavors to the next level.
How to make vegan freezer pecan turtles
Prepare the date caramel in a blender or food processor.
Form small pecan clusters on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Top each pecan cluster with a spoonful of date caramel.
Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes to set.
Melt dark chocolate in the microwave or using a double boiler.
Place pecan clusters on a fork one at a time, and dip them into the melted chocolate.
Use a spoon to drizzle melted chocolate over the turtles.
Place the turtles back on the same baking sheet and sprinkle with Maldon sea salt before the chocolate hardens.
Place the turtles back in the freezer for 15 minutes to harden.
Tips for making this recipe perfectly
Use the freshest Medjool dates you can find. The softer, the better! Since you’ll blend up the dates to make date caramel sauce, you want to ensure there are no chunks.
Toast the pecans if you have raw ones. Since I used roasted and salted pecans, I skipped this step. Toasting really brings out the nutty and sweet flavor of the pecans, so I highly recommend it if you are using raw nuts. You can toast them on the stovetop in about 5-10 minutes. Add them to a skillet over medium heat, tossing frequently, until crunchy, browned, and fragrant.
Use a fork to dip the turtles into the melted chocolate. Place each turtle on a fork individually, then lower it into the melted chocolate. Use a spoon to drizzle the top with chocolate. Gently scrape the bottom of the fork against the bowl to get rid of any excess chocolate on the bottom of the turtle.
1/2 cup non-dairy milk – I used unsweetened soy milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup pecan pieces
8 oz dark chocolate
Maldon sea salt
Prepare the date caramel. Combine dates, non-dairy milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and salt in a food processor or high speed blender. Blend until completely smooth and creamy, and no date chunks remain.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Create 12 clusters of pecans on top of the parchment paper. Each cluster should be about 1-2 tbsp of nuts.
Use a spoon to top each pecan cluster with about 1 tbsp of date caramel. Make sure all the pecans are coated with caramel.
Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes. The date caramel won’t harden up completely like regular caramel, but it will become firmer for chocolate dipping.
Melt the chocolate in a large microwave safe bowl in the microwave. I broke the chocolate up into chunks and cooked for 2 minutes, stopping to stir the chocolate every 30 seconds.
One at a time, slide each turtle onto a fork. Gently dip the turtle and lower it into the melted chocolate. If it doesn’t completely submerge, use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the top.
Gently scrape the fork on the edge of the bowl to get rid of excess chocolate on the bottom of the turtles.
Place back on the baking sheet, and sprinkle with a pinch of Maldon sea salt before the chocolate hardens. Repeat for all 12 turtles.
Return to the freezer for 15-30 minutes so the chocolate sets completely. Enjoy!
Store in an airtight container in the freezer. You can eat them right from the freezer, or let them sit out for a few minutes before enjoying.
Keywords: pecan turtles, vegan, gluten free
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