This is American Thanksgiving week and all over the blogosphere there are posts about the holiday, being thankful and great food ideas. I have been enjoying reading the many posts people have put up with the theme of thanksgiving.
Living in Canada, we have already celebrated our Thanksgiving. Canadian Thanksgiving takes place on the second Monday of October. Even though I am not American, and I do not live in the States, I still love to celebrate American Thanksgiving. I think it is an excuse to have turkey and watch some football; who wouldn’t like that!
Today is day 21 of the 24 Days of Christmas Baking and the dessert today is my wife’s absolute favourite thing I bake. She loves Nestle turtles – well she loves chocolate, nuts and caramel so if you throw them together, it is a guaranteed winner for her. Today’s dessert takes the flavour of a Nestle turtle and puts it in a square.
This square is probably the most decadent dessert in the whole 24 day marathon. It is incredibly buttery and sweet, so it would probably be smart to make the squares a little on the smaller size. Who are we kidding, that would just mean that we eat a few squares!
How to make the crust layer
The first step to making these delicious turtle squares is to make the crust layer. This layer is very similar to a shortbread crust and very simple to make. I use a stand mixer and cream together the softened butter with the sugar until smooth and creamy. Then, slowly add in the dry ingredients, with the mixer on medium low. As you can see in the picture above, the crust dough should be seem somewhat dry and crumbly.
Take the dough and press it into a 13×9 baking dish. I use a non stick pan, but a glass dish works great as well. Place in a preheated 350F oven and bake for 13 minutes. The crust should be puffing up a bit and just starting to brown on the edges.
How to make the caramel layer
Making caramel is not difficult and can be done quite quickly. Add the caramel ingredients to a saucepan and melt over medium heat. Use a whisk to make sure all the brown sugar has been dissolved into the butter and it is a creamy smooth mixture.
Let the caramel come to a boil. Once it reaches the boil, let it continue to boil for 1 minute. Then, immediately remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the pecan pieces.
Pour the caramel and pecan mixture over the baked crust and use a rubber spatula to spread evenly in the baking dish.
Place back in the oven and continue baking at 350 for 23 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
The final step to making these turtle squares is to add the melted chocolate. I melt the chocolate chips in a glass bowl in the microwave. You could also use a double boiler on the stove. Make sure the the caramel layer has cooled completely before before spreading on the melted chocolate. Spread the chocolate, using a rubber spatula and make sure that the layer of chocolate is even. Let the chocolate cool and then cut into squares.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup butter , softened
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 4 tbsp whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
- 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, cream together 3/4 cup of butter with white sugar. Slowly add in the flour mixture and beat on medium low. The crust mixture should be crumbly.
- Dump the crust mixture into a 13x9 non baking dish and press down evenly.
- Bake in a 350F oven for 13 minutes. The edges of of the crust should be just starting to brown up and the crust should puff up a bit. Remove from the oven.
- Add 1 cup butter, brown sugar, whipping cream, vanilla and 1/2 tsp salt to a saucepan. Melt over medium heat. Bring to a boil and let it bubble for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the pecan pieces.
- Pour the caramel and pecan mixture over the baked crust and use a rubber spatula to spread it evenly in the baking dish. Place back in the oven and bake at 350F for 23 minutes. Let cool.
- Place chocolate chips in a glass bowl and melt in a microwave over 50% heat for 4 minutes. Stop halfway through and stir with a rubber spatula. Spread the melted chocolate over the cooled caramel layer.
- Let cool so the chocolate layer hardens. Cut into squares.