Turtle Bars are a sweet, crunchy combination of a shortbread crust, homemade caramel, and pecans all topped in chocolate. The ultimate easy homemade candy!
Turtle Bars are a great addition to the growing collection of Candy Recipes on the blog. They’re perfect to make around the holidays and serve with Chocolate Raisin Clusters, Chocolate Walnut Fudge, and other favorite homemade candies.
This simple bar recipe is based on classic Turtle Candies. The difference is instead of making individual candy pieces this recipe makes it all into one pan with a shortbread crust. Then you can cut the bars up as a shareable treat.
Make these Turtle Bars for your next holiday party, as an edible gift, or as a delicious snack to have around the house. It’s simple enough to make, you’ll find yourself turning to this recipe again and again. With chocolate, caramel, shortbread, and pecans all in one recipe, it’s the perfect way to satisfy a sweet tooth.
Turtle Bars are a multilayer chocolate treat that’s surprisingly easy to make. If your head is spinning at the idea of making a shortbread crust and the caramel from scratch, don’t worry! Making the shortbread crust is a simple matter of combining the ingredients to a stand mixer then pressing them into the pan, and for the caramel, you just have to boil the ingredients together while mixing them in a saucepan.
Homemade Turtle Bars are easy enough you can have your kids help you make them. The only part you may want to do yourself, depending on how old your assistants are, is the caramel, since it involves a hot stove. Making the Homemade Caramel is probably the trickiest part, and as long as you continuously stir it even that step is easy!
Why are they called turtles?
Turtles may seem like a strange name for a candy, but the combination of pecans, caramel, and chocolate have been called turtles since the 1930s. They got the name because the pecans beneath the chocolate and caramel looked like little turtle heads poking out. Which is just adorable!
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TIPS FOR MAKING TURTLE BARS
- Prep: Soften the butter a few hours in advance. Then preheat your oven and spray the baking dish with nonstick spray so they’re ready to go.
- Shortbread base: Add the flour, 1 cup of brown sugar and ¾ cup of butter to the stand mixer. Mix the ingredients together on medium speed until It’s a crumbly combination. Press the crumbly shortbread crust into the base of your prepared pan for the crust.
- Caramel: To make the caramel add ¾ cup butter, ½ cup brown sugar, and salt to a saucepan over medium heat. Continuously stir the mixture until the caramel comes to a boil. Constantly stirring is the most important part because you don’t want the sugar to burn. After it’s boiled, pour the caramel over the shorbread base. Sprinkle the pecans over the top of that.
- Bake: Cook the caramel, pecans, and shortbread layer for 18-20 minutes.
- Chocolate: Take the caramel and pecan layer from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the top. Cover the pan with a baking sheet to keep the heat in and let the chocolate melt for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes, use a spatula or fork to spread the chocolate smoothly over the top.
- Serve: Pop the Turtle Bars in the fridge and let it set completely before slicing it into 16 squares.
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VARIATIONS ON TURTLE BARS
- Nuts: You can change up this recipe by using different nuts instead of pecans. Try using almonds, walnuts, or peanuts.
- Chocolate: Instead of using semisweet chocolate chips you can try milk chocolate, dark chocolate or even white chocolate. You could also do a layer of semisweet chocolate topped with a layer of white chocolate.
- Salted: Salted caramel and chocolate make such a delicious combination. To bring that to this recipe, try sprinkling sea salt over the caramel along with the pecans.
- Graham cracker crust: Instead of a shortbread crust, you can put some graham crackers in your food processor and combine the crumbs with butter. Press the crumbs into the base of your pan to make a graham cracker crust.
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HOW TO STORE TURTLE BARS
- Serve: As long as your house is fairly cool, you can leave Turtle Bars at room temperature for up to 3 days. Seal them in an airtight container in the pantry to store them.
- Store: Let the Turtle Bars cool to room temperature, then cut, and store them in an airtight container. They’ll keep well in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Freeze: Kept sealed, Turtle Bars will stay good in the fridge for up to 4 months.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup brown sugar , packed
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter , softened
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar , packed
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups pecans , chopped
- 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips , about 2 cups
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 13x9" baking dish with baking spray.
- Add flour, 1 cup brown sugar and ¾ cup butter to a stand mixer on medium speed until crumbly.
- Press into the baking dish evenly.
- Add 1 cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar, heavy cream and ¼ teaspoon salt to a medium saucepan on medium heat.
- Stir non-stop until mixture comes to a boil, then cook for 1 additional minute.
- Remove from heat and pour mixture over the cookie base.
- Sprinkle pecans over the caramel.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes.
- Sprinkle chocolate chips over the baked bars as soon as they come out of the oven and let sit for 5 minutes to melt (you can also cover the pan with a baking sheet to keep heat in).
- Spread chocolate carefully with offset spatula or fork.
- Cool completely before slicing and serving.