Sometimes I have the most giant sweet tooth in the world. But, I know that it’s not the healthiest thing to eat a bunch of cane sugar. So, I created these delicious vegan turtle candies that are nearly guilt-free, in my opinion. They’re also straightforward and even fun to make!
Only 7 Ingredients
Frequently, candy contains a massive list of ingredients. I’m happy to say that this recipe does not! The turtles’ base is pecan halves, which should be no surprise if you’re familiar with this kind of candy. However, the caramel is made of softened Medjool dates, pure maple syrup, vanilla extract, and a little salt. I blend those ingredients into a smooth, creamy, and airy texture. Picture whipped, fluffy caramel. It is phenomenal, and I don’t think anyone would ever guess this is made from dates when eaten in the turtle candy.
I dollop the date caramel onto clusters of pecans, top it off with melted stevia-sweetened dark chocolate, and a sprinkling of flakey sea salt. The turtles get popped into the freezer to chill and firm up, and then they’re ready to be devoured!
Sweet, Salty, Crunchy, Gooey
These candies are sweet, but not too sweet. Since I didn’t put any cane sugar into the caramel and used stevia-sweetened dark chocolate, the candy truly isn’t overly sweet. I also love the added touch of flakey sea salt on top as it livens up the taste buds and helps balance out the sweetness of the candy. Don’t get me wrong, though. These turtle candies will still kick your precious tooth right to the curb!
When you bite into a turtle candy, the chocolate shell cracks, and your mouth fills with luscious, sticky caramel. The caramel doesn’t ever harden, by the way. Once the caramel has chilled, it slightly firms up, but it doesn’t get tough or chewy on the teeth, which is excellent. I can’t stand when candy gets stuck in my teeth, and I have to fight to get it out, haha.
I am so obsessed with this sweet treat, and I am optimistic you will be too if you give them a try! If you make these vegan turtle candies, don’t forget to post a picture to Instagram, tag me @chefsummerstorm, and #gardengrub so I can see your recreation!
Want another delicious, healthier sweet recipe!? Give this Healthier Vegan Caramel Apple Popcorn a try! It is made of stovetop popcorn, dried apple pieces, peanuts, and another version of a healthier caramel recipe.
Easy, Healthy, & Delicious Vegan Turtle Candies
- 80 plain, raw pecan halves (4 pecan halves per turtle=20 turtles)
- 1 cup Medjool dates, packed and pits removed (roughly 12 dates. You must use MEDJOOL dates.)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup, 100% pure
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 100% pure
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 3/4 cup Lily's Sweets Dark Chocolate Stevia Sweetened Premium Baking Chips
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- Flakey sea salt, for sprinkling on top of the turtles
- Line a large sheet pan with a sheet of parchment paper. Make 20 pecan turtles in the shape of an X. Each turtle gets 4 pecan halves.
- Now, bring a small saucepot of water to a boil. Ensure the pits are removed from the dates and then boil them for 1 to 2 minutes to soften them. Drain them off well.
- Add the softened dates, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and kosher salt into a high powered blender. Blend until extremely smooth, scraping down the insides of the blender as needed. This mixture is date caramel.
- In a small saucepot, add an inch or two of water and place it over low heat. Set a small glass bowl on top of the saucepot. The bottom of the bowl should be resting above the water and not touching it whatsoever. Add the vegan dark chocolate chips and coconut oil into the bowl and occasionally stir it until it is melted and smooth.
- Add a hefty teaspoon of the date caramel on top of each pecan cluster. You may need to push the pecans together again to help them stick into the caramel better. Then, if you want it to look cleaner, go through and smooth/flatten out the caramel dollops with the back of an eating spoon.
- Using a small eating spoon, drizzle/pour over some melted chocolate on top of each dollop of caramel.
- Sprinkle a tiny bit of flakey sea salt on top of the turtles while the chocolate is still melted.
- Place the sheet pan of prepared turtles into the freezer to chill and firm up, about 20 minutes.
- They are ready to eat once the chocolate is no longer melted and has turned into a shell-like texture, and the caramel is chilled. Place the turtles in an airtight container or Ziploc baggy and store them in the freezer or refrigerator. They are perfectly fine to eat straight from the freezer, as the date caramel does not harden.
Welcome to the tip section of the vegan turtle candies! Here I provide my top tips to help you perfect the recipe. Sometimes, I also give substitute suggestions that I think you may find helpful.
- You must use MEDJOOL dates. These dates are much plumper, softer, and stickier in comparison to other dates. They are going to give you the best texture for this caramel recipe.