White Chocolate, Almond, and Orange Turtles
- 4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces, plus more for greasing baking sheets
- 3/4 cup toasted almond slivers
- 1/4 cup finely diced candied orange peel
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 pound good-quality white chocolate, chopped (*do not use white chocolate chips)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening (recommended: Crisco)
Generously butter 2 baking sheets.
On the baking sheets, arrange the almond slivers in star-like clusters so that they can represent the head and legs of a turtle. Be sure to leave about 2 inches of space between the clusters. Sprinkle a generous 1/4 teaspoon of the diced orange peel over the almonds.
In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the evaporated milk, the corn syrup, and sugar and bring to a boil. Add the remaining 1/2 cup evaporated milk and the 4 tablespoons of butter, and cook, stirring constantly, until it reaches the softball stage, 240 degrees F. Stir in the vanilla and remove from the heat. Let cool to 200 degrees F.
Using a tablespoon, spoon caramel on top of each nut cluster and let harden. (If the caramel becomes too stiff to pour, return to low heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until it returns to the proper consistency.)
*To make the white chocolate coating, in the top of a double boiler or in a metal bowl set over barely simmering water, combine 6 ounces of the chocolate with the vegetable shortening. Melt over low heat, stirring, until it reaches 116 to 118 degrees F, or feels fairly warm but not hot to the touch. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 ounces of chocolate. Continue stirring until the chocolate reaches 80 degrees F or feels cool to the touch. Return to low heat and cook, stirring, until the temperature rises to 85 to 87 degrees F, or feels barely cool. Remove from the heat.
Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the tempered chocolate over each cluster. Set aside in a cool place to harden. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, with waxed paper separating the layers to prevent sticking.
*Cook's Note: This recipe calls for tempering the white chocolate. This step is not necessary unless you are going to store the turtles for longer than 1 week or if you desire a shiny, professional chocolate appearance. You may simply melt the white chocolate with the shortening in a double boiler over low heat and proceed as directed.
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