Well it’s official. The Holiday Season is upon us. Dun dun dahhhhhh. Start the frantic gift shopping, decorating, and cookie-making.
I enjoy every single minute of the Holidays. I actually try to hold off on the Christmas cookie making, since Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I do not feel it gets enough baking attention. Sure we gather over one weekend with family and friends and eat until we are uncomfortably full and watch football. BUT there are not very many cookies dedicated to Thanksgiving. Yes…there is pie, but what about all the other sweet treats that Christmas gets??? If I were Thanksgiving I would be peanut butter jelly of Christmas.
I decided to make these turtles that incorporate pecans and dates, in place of caramel, as a sweet treat dedicated to Thanksgiving. These turtles are a healthier alternative to traditional chocolate-covered, caramel, pecan turtles—can we say BONUS?!?!
The date paste acts like the caramel and is one of the “glues” that holds these turtles together. Seriously, Andrew stood in the kitchen eating these one after another and when I asked him why he was staring at the tray his reply, “I am trying to taste the dates.” Why add fake sweetness via caramel when you can have the yummy and more nutritious date substitute without compromising flavor?
Since I love Take5 candy bars and a slight salty flavor to contrast the sweetness of most desserts, I decided to make the base of these turtles a pretzel. If you want to keep these treats even healthier you can omit the pretzel. Instead of making a date paste you would keep the dates whole and the melted chocolate would act as the “glue” to hold the turtle together. Speaking of chocolate, I prefer dark chocolate, but you can always substitute bittersweet or milk chocolate.
These vegan turtles are a great, easy, and fun gift during the Holidays. Unfortunately, they did not last more than 1 day in our apartment. Looks like I will be making a double-batch in the near future ;)
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 24 turtles
15-20 dates (either medjool or golden—I use golden dates)
½ C dark chocolate chips (I use 60% cocoa Ghirardelli chocolate chips)
- Pit the dates by cutting each date in half with a pearing knife and removing the pit.
- Soak the dates in warm water for at least 15 minutes. Drain water and place dates in food processor. Pulse until a thick date paste forms.
- Lay pretzels on parchment paper or silicone baking mat lined baking sheet. Spoon ~1/2 tsp of date paste onto each pretzel (see picture above).
- Center one pecan on each pretzel on top of the date paste. Press down on the pecan to ensure it sticks to the dates.
- Place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave for 15 seconds and stir well, repeat every 15 seconds until the chocolate chips have melted (~60 seconds total).
- Drizzle ~1 tsp of melted chocolate over each pretzel.
- Place the turtles in the fridge for at least 10 minutes until the chocolate hardens.
- Enjoy one, two, three, or more turtles ;)