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March 14, 2013

1

Candy Revival: The Turtle

by Michael Langlois

Growing up, I was never much a fan of turtles.  They were okay, I mean I’m not exactly going to turn my nose up at a blob of chocolate, caramel, and nuts (duh), but they were nothing particularly special.  I saw them at the holidays, typically heaped in a bowl, fresh from being extracted from their crinkly plastic trays, but I usually passed them up in favor of better, more exciting delights sitting nearby.

Turns out, I had no idea what a turtle actually was.  First of all, take a good look at the picture up there.  Notice that those babies are not flattened disks of waxy chocolate with a few half-hearted bulges on offer.  There’s chocolate, but it’s the good stuff.  And the bulges?  They cannot be contained.  There’s literally too much good stuff bursting out of there to cover up.

Of course, that’s not the whole story.  The real reason that the nuts are exposed (ahem) is that it’s the only way to let them retain their toothsome crunch, not too crisp, not too soft.  A great pecan or almond or cashew is a complex mix of texture and sweet and salt, and should not be allowed to smother inside the candy.

The caramel that glues the insides together is critical as well.  It has to be soft and buttery, with just enough presence to add richness to a bite without overpowering it, silky and not stiff and gluey so that it provides a luscious lubrication to each turtle instead of presenting a defiant challenge to your teeth.

Creating real turtles, the kind that deserve the name, turns out to be an art.  And a difficult one.  Which is why we see them so rarely.

My guess is that you can get real turtles somewhere in your city.  There’s a chocolate shop out there with your name on it if you look.  But if you want to be sure, and I think you do, then I’m gonna recommend you give Turtle Alley a shot.

And if you really trust me, get the chipotle ones.  Really.

Read more from Blog Posts, Food

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