My heart jumped a bit when I turned the calendar into February. Ah, yes…the month of love. It must be part of a divine plan that the month of love lands in the middle of cold and gray. A reason to celebrate is always welcomed in the midst of winter.
Love was truly a celebration during my college years but then my love boat crashed and quite frankly, I wasn’t sure I would ever celebrate Valentine’s day the same way again much less get my boat afloat. Alas, there is a happy ending. After many hits and misses, I met my true love on a commercial airplane (I gave up on boats!). Seat mates who became forever intertwined.
More than 24 years of love later, I thought I would see if my true love truly knew me well. I mentioned that Valentine’s Day was just around the corner and that I would give him the acronym for what my heart desired. He said, cheerfully, “game on!”. I articulated the letters clearly—C.E.T. Just as in any great fairy tale, my true love paused for only a moment and then said, “easy! You want Christopher Elbow Turtles”. True love lives on and yes, he does know me well. You see I adore these chocolates from one of the best chocolatiers on this continent. My wallet and my expanding waist only allow me this treasure twice a year. Somehow Santa always knows best and places Christopher Elbow turtles in my stocking and yes, each and every Valentines Day I am able to indulge once again, thanks to my husband.
Then it happened, an email from a food company arrived a week before the special day with a recipe for pecan and salted caramel candies. It got me to thinking that maybe I should try the “Sandra Lee” version of this candy. It was a snap to make and while it will never replace C.E.T., it is a great substitute for celebrations in between. You realize by sharing this recipe with you, I have thwarted any possibility of ever shadowing Mr. Elbow, working in his shop or ghost writing his book. I am almost certain he would not approve of this version but I hope he understands that desperate times call for desperate measures.
Capture your true love’s heart this week and make these candies. What can I say? Your first choice should be to visit Mr. Elbow’s store or website but if that isn’t possible then make these morsels and enjoy. I will be forever more a hopeless romantic.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Not Christopher Elbow’s Turtles
32 pecan halves, toasted
12 caramel candies, unwrapped and cut in half
1 milk chocolate bar (1.55 oz.)*Hershey’s breaks perfect squares and then break those in half to make 24 pieces.
Fleur de Sel or other sea salt for garnish on each candy
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line a baking sheet with a silplat mat or parchment paper. Place 3 sliced caramels on pecans, overlapping as necessary. Bake for 3 to 6 minutes until caramel has begun to melt quit
Place 4 pecan halves touching to form the “legs” of the turtle. Place 3 sliced caramels on pecans, overlapping as necessary. Bake for 3 to 6 minutes until caramel has begun to melt quite a bit. Remove from the oven and place 3 small chocolates squares on top of caramel. Return to oven for a minute. Remove from oven and using a light touch with a thin spatula or table knife, spread the chocolate over the melted caramel. Sprinkle with fleur de sel. Allow to stand until chocolate has hardened.
Peel off mat and enjoy.
Makes 8 impostors