Such simple ingredients for an amazing treat without extra sugar or guilt. The healthiest turtle candies are here!! These vegan chocolate clusters are so decadent but packed with some surprising health benefits too! Dairy free and gluten free, plus paleo and keto friendly.
“Come to momma!”
I literally said that out loud as a grab one of the healthiest turtle candies I’ve ever seen (or created) and shoved it in my mouth. Oh the crunch of the toasted pecans, oh the gooey caramel center, oh the rich dark chocolate as it hits my tongue and melts in a euphoric experience unlike any other.
Man I should write a romance novel about these things!
A romance novel with a scientific health flair. Sounds enticing, doesn’t it?
If you think chocolate candy can’t be good for you then think again! Case and point….
- dark chocolate = antioxidants! Especially if you’re going crazy dark like I do (100% cacao fan over here). Plus a great source of both magnesium and manganese.
- pecans = also rich in magnesium and a great source of vitamin E and vitamin A. Pecans also contain monounsaturated fats along with antioxidants which can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
- medjool dates = que in more fiber and antioxidants, plus an amazing all-natural sweetener without the crash.
- almond butter = fiber, protein, antioxidants, and vitamin E.
How to make turtle candy
Ok that health shhhhtuff is great and all, but let’s get to the real stuff – the steps to make the healthiest turtle candies without fail. Ready to dive on in?!
First, you’ll want to toast the pecans at 350 degrees for roughly 6-7 minutes. Toasting brings out such beautiful flavor in the pecans, plus ensures they are crunchy – not soft like some raw nuts tend to be.
Second, combine the pitted medjool dates, almond butter, and dash of cinnamon in a small food processor or mini chopper. The mixture won’t be creamy, more thick-and-crumbly, but that’s exactly what we want!
You’ll scoop out the mixture and (very gently) flatten them on each pecan cluster. This not only ensures the pecans stay together, it will be the surprise flavor burst of sweet, caramel flavor when you take a bite!
Melt the dark chocolate and spoon it over the top. Try not to lick them before they are set 😉
Chill, and viola. The most decadent, perfect, healthy, beautiful treats known to man. Give them as a gift or hoard them all to yourself (I can’t blame ya!)
These vegan, paleo, and keto-friendly chocolate candies keep for up to a week and best stored chilled until ready to serve.Print
Healthiest Turtle Candies (vegan + paleo)
These paleo, vegan, and keto-friendly chocolate candies are simple to make, require just a few basic ingredients, and totally decadent. The healthiest dessert you’ll ever eat!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 14 clusters 1x
- 56 raw pecan halves
- 6 medjool dates
- 2 tablespoons almond butter (*see notes)
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 ounces dark chocolate (**see notes)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Arrange raw pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 6-7 minutes, until golden and fragrant
- In a small food processor or mini chopper, add the medjool dates, almond butter, and cinnamon. Process until well incorporated and the mixture looks like a sticky/crumbly paste
- Once the pecans have toasted, arrange then in groups of four on a parchment-lined plate
- Scoop out 1 heaping teaspoon of the date mixture. Gently roll into a ball then flatten just slightly. Gently press the mixture on top of each nut cluster
- Place the chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl (breaking up the chocolate if using a bar) and microwave for 12-second intervals for about 90 seconds, stirring in between the intervals to ensure the chocolate does not burn. This could take slightly less time, or slightly more depending on your microwave
- Once the chocolate has melted, let sit at room temperature for a few minutes. You want to make sure the consistency isn’t extremely thin and drizzly but more thick yet still pourable
- Spoon out 1 tablespoon of the melted chocolate and gently cover each cluster, using the back of the spoon if needed to evenly distribute the chocolate over caramel center
- Chill in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes until the chocolate has set
- Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve
*you can also sub for nut or seed butter of choice. Try to avoid nut butters that are particularly thin or oily for this recipe. Make sure you mix the nut butter very well, especially near the bottom to ensure the consistency is thick enough for these candies
**the darker the chocolate the healthier this candies are. I opted for 100% cacao but that is very bitter. For a more mild taste, try 60-70% cacao/dark chocolate (but note, anything under 100% will not be dairy free)
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