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Chocolate Pecan Turtle Bars

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Resting time:2 hrs
Total Time3 hrs
Servings: 24 bars

Ingredients

For the shortbread crust:

  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar packed
  • ½ cup butter salted, cold
  • ½ cup pecans chopped

For the caramel layer:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 tablespoons butter unsalted, diced
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon mild sea salt (use half as much if using regular salt)

For the bars:

  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 12-ounce bag milk chocolate chips

Instructions

For the shortbread crust:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9 casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray
  • Mix the flour and brown sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • Pull the 1/2 cup butter from the fridge. Cut the butter into small cubes. Toss into the flour and brown sugar mixture. Using a pastry blender (or two knives), cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is the size of small crumbs.
  • Stir in 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans with the rest of the crust mixture. Press the mixture into the greased dish until it is firmly-packed into the bottom of the dish. Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated oven and then remove to cool.
  • Next, toast the pecans in a saute pan over medium heat until the pecans start to get fragrant and brown a little, about 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle over the cooked shortbread crust.

For the caramel layer:

  • Place cream and butter in a small sauce pan and place over medium low heat. Once the butter has melted and just before the cream boils, turn off heat and set aside.
  • In a large sauce pan, add sugar, water, and corn syrup and stir together. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook sugar mixture, without stirring but swirling pan occasionally, until it is beginning to turn golden-amber in color, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low. Very carefully, pour hot cream mixture into sugar mixture. It will bubble ferociously. Stir until combined. Clip candy thermometer to side of pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 248ºF (firm ball stage), 10 to 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and allow caramel to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Then pour over the pecans and shortbread in a smooth even layer. Let cool for 1 hour.

For the chocolate layer:

  • Once the caramel layer has set for an hour, it's time to melt the chocolate chips. Heat two-thirds of chocolate chips in heat-proof bowl set over pan of simmering water until melted. Then, remove from heat. Stir in remaining third of chocolate chips until melted.*
  • Pour over the caramel layer and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Let set for at least 1 hour or until chocolate hardens again.
  • Once chocolate has turned solid, cut bars into 24 perfect squares.

Notes

*This process is called tempering the chocolate. In short, tempering is a process used to in candy making to keep the chocolate from remaining soft when it gets back to room temperature. In other words, it give the chocolate a slight hard shell when it cools.