Thursday, October 2, 2008

Turtle Cookies

I was brainstorming all the things I want to bake yesterday. As you might have noticed from my last post, I love all things autumn. So my list of things to bake was mostly fall themed or flavored foods. Unfortunately, it's hard to feel like eating spiced baked goods when it's 84 F outside. Sigh. So, I had to think of some other creative thing to bake. I'm trying to branch out into recipes that I have invented myself, and to that end, I decided to make Turtle Cookies. Admit it, have you ever seen a cookie that represents all the fabulosity of a turtle candy? If you've never had a "Turtle", you've definitely been missing out. Usually, it is a lump of caramel over a few strategically placed pecans, the whole thing dipped in chocolate. Mmmm...

There is a surprising lack of history on the internets regarding Turtles, but apparently they are originally from Rowntree DeMet’s Inc., a candy company that was bought out by Nestle in 1988. According to this blogger who found a linguist who identified turtles, "DeMet's Turtles was introduced in the early 1920s by Rowntree DeMet's Inc. An employee at the chocolate factory remarked that the new candy, with pecans protruding from its side, looked like a turtle. The name stuck. NestlĂ© acquired Rowntree DeMet's Inc. in 1988. In January 1996 the name changed to NESTLÉ® TURTLES."

But more to the point, they are seriously one of the best candies out there. Unless you don't like nuts - but it's chocolate and caramel together! How much better can it get!? I used a chocolate cookie recipe from my favorite baking website. Alas (I just used the word "alas", how nerdy am I?), the recipe is only so so. Granted, I probably overbaked like I always do, but still, next time I'll write my own chocolate cookie recipe.

The caramel recipe I got from some website somewhere a long time ago, I don't remember where, though. If you've never made your own caramel (or any sugar candy, for that matter), it is not a simple task. I've made so many of batches of caramel rocks over the years, it's awful. Cooked/melted sugar has stages that it goes through. You have to heat the sugar long enough to caramelize it, and the more you cook it, the harder it will be once it is cooled. That's the hard part. You can't tell how hard it will be while you're cooking it. You have to use a candy thermometer and the "ice water teste". So, one hand is stiring, one hand is dripping caramel into a glass of ice water, and one ... wait, there are no more hands. Well, one eye is watching the themometer. Not a casual process. I wanted a caramel that was more sauce, less wraped candy - something that wouldn't just ooze off the top of the cookies, but still soft and gooey. I think this caramel was just about right. Probably the first time I've made caramel that came out the consistency I wanted!

Assemble cookie/caramel/pecan and tada, a pretty good cookie.

Thanks, Dad, for taking the picture! My photography skills are pretty bad, and as you can see from my other posts, this is much better!

1 comment:

Lena said...

Those cookies look amazing, and I am putting in an official request to have them at the tea party. Turtles are my favorite candy in the whole wide world.