Vegan Turtles, vegan turtles, rah rah rah! 🐢
Ok, I’ve taken liberties with the jingle, but I couldn’t resist.
And you won’t be able to resist my new vegan turtles.
In my pre-vegan days, I loooooved me some turtles!
I have always been a sucker for chocolate and caramel. Hey, we know my love for chocolate, and when I was a wee girl, nothing was more delicious to me than caramel. I used to eat these caramel bars (to the delight of our dentist).
And to this day, my favorite vegan ice creams are those that can combine vanilla with caramel, or chocolate with caramel, or all three together…. hel-lo!
A few months ago, I decided to create my own date caramels for turtles. Well, it’s not the first time I’ve made date caramel.
So I guess it was more that I was developing a proper recipe for vegan turtles.
These chocolate turtles are not only vegan, they are also whole foods plant-based (depending on the chocolate you use, more on that soon).
With Valentine’s approaching, you’ll have fun making these for someone you want to gift with some food love – and perhaps that’s your fine ol’-self! Plus, then you don’t have to hide some so someone else doesn’t eat them all. 😅 Or, maybe you do want to hide some so you can rediscover that hidden stash weeks later! 🎉 #whoop
Either way, they are fun to make and even more fun to eat!
Vegan Turtles FAQ
There are many varieties of dates, and the best ones to use: pitted! It’s just easier to use pitted dates, makes your process much quicker. Pitted dates are usually the deglet variety, however you can find pitted medjool dates online. And medjool dates tend to be more ‘caramel-like’ than more commonly found pitted dates.
Well, turtles are classically nut-based, made with pecans. And, I use raw cashew butter in the filling. However, you can omit the pecans (and sub in some quality, substantial pumpkin seeds) and use a pumpkin seed butter in the filling. It will taste different than using cashew butter, but it’s an option for you. Also, if you are able to eat other tree nuts but not cashew, try pecan butter, mac butter or raw (not roasted) almond butter in the filling.
Keep in the fridge, and you can also store some in the freezer if you like.
Now, about the chocolate… I’m asked often about the best chocolate to use. I recommend a high-quality brand, like Taza or Nibble Chocolate. I actually wrote about Nibble in Dreena’s Kind Kitchen. Their classic line of chocolate bars and “Nibbleitos” are made without any added oil – and have just two ingredients! So, if you are looking for a whole foods plant-based option for chocolate, Nibble Chocolate is a beautiful choice. Otherwise, you can use any dairy-free chocolate you like, and Taza has many gorgeous offerings.
Get your ingredients ready, have a watch of my recipe demo… and enjoy! x Dreena
- Prepare the date filling: Set up a double boiler (or other tool) to steam. Bring water to a boil in base of steamer, and place dates in basket of steamer. Cover and let steam for 10 minutes, until very soft. Transfer dates to a mini food processor or a mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add the cashew butter, vanilla, and salt. puree/mix until the mixture is very smooth. Transfer to fridge to chill for 1/2 hour.
- Prepare the chocolate: Set a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add chocolate (Nibble for oil-free chocolate) and nut butter and let it heat over the simmering water. Stir through until melted, then remove from heat and let sit while shaping turtles.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove date mixture and spoon out small rounds (about 1/2 tbsp in size). Use 2 pecan halves to ‘sandwich’ the date rounds, and place on the parchment-lined sheet. Continue until you’ve used all of the date mixture, If it’s very sticky, rinse your hands a few times as your work through the mixture, forming the rounds with slightly damp fingers. When finished, get ready to cover in chocolate. Add the turtle centres to the chocolate, gently turning around in the melted chocolate to coat (you can work with 2-3 at a time or one at a time). Place coated caramels on the baking sheet. Work in batches, and after coating about 6-7 turtles in chocolate, sprinkle the tops with the coarse salt. When finished, refrigerate until serving. Makes 26-28 turtles.