I whipped these up for Jason one day on a whim using my favorite caramel recipe and Emerald smoked almonds that I got really cheap with coupons. Sweet + salty + smokey + chocolaty= WIN!
1 c. smoked almonds, coarsely chopped
1 c. milk or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 ½ c. caramel
Coat a mini muffin tin with a good dose of cooking spray, butter or shortening. (tip: cut a 1/2″ x 3″ strip of of parchment paper and set in the bottom of the cup for “handles” to remove the turtles with later) Sprinkle the smoked almonds evenly among each cup (~2 tsp. each). Prepare the caramel as directed below and while hot, cover the almonds with about 1 tbsp. of caramel per cup. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Microwave chocolate chips on half power for 1 minute. Stir and then continue microwaving in 30 sec increments until melted and smooth. Drizzle about 2 tsp. of chocolate over each turtle. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set. Pop out of tins, arrange on a platter or in a little gift box and enjoy
(makes 24 turtles)
My favorite soft chewy caramel of all time that I use for everything:
1 c.+ 2 tbsp. sugar
¾ c.+ 2 tbsp. heavy cream
2 tbsp. honey
1½ tsp. light corn syrup
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Stir together the sugar, cream, honey and corn syrup and slowly bring to a boil. Cook over medium high, stirring occasionally until golden brown (temp reaches 250F measured by a candy thermometer). Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Pour the caramel into the prepared muffin tin as directed above.