Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sweet Georgia Browns

I'm so excited.  I feel like I should be contributing to that "Top Secret Recipes" book.  I have cracked the code to Purdy's Sweet Georgia Browns.  If you do not know what I am referring to, or have never tried one, you are truly missing a sweet treat.

Purdy's is a Western Canadian chocolatier who makes a version of "Turtles" called "Sweet Georgia Browns."  When my friend introduced me to SGB's, she described them as being "way better than a turtle."  That's a bold statement.  Yet, so very true.  Let's just say they are a Turtle kicked up a few notches.

The key to these is using really, really good ingredients.  So, on the chocolate, do not scrimp and buy a cheap no name brand.  I used Lindt swiss milk chocolate.  I made the caramel from scratch.  Some turtle recipes call for those Halloween caramel squares.  This is not the place for that.  And the pecans need to be roasted AND salted. 

This will take time to make, but it is not hard.  Well, actually it IS hard to wait for them to cool down and set so you can take a bite.  I made these in a mini-muffin pan, which makes them look similar to SGB's, but, you can still use a cookie sheet and make them "free-form" a la turtles.  You can freeze these in a plastic bag or container, but let's be honest, we all know there won't be any leftover to freeze.

Sweet Georgia Brown's
Makes 24 small-muffin-sized, or 60 baking sheet sized
1 pound pecan halves
2 T butter, melted
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 250F.  In a microwavable bowl, melt butter.  Add salt to taste (approximately 1-2 tsp, depending on taste).  Add pecans to bowl and stir.  Pour onto parchment lined baking sheet and bake in oven for 60 min, or until the nuts become aromatic and golden.  Remove from oven and set aside.

1/4 c water
1 c sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2/3 c sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c light corn syrup
6T butter, unsalted, softened
1/2 tsp salt

1.  Combine the water, sugar, vanilla bean seeds and pod, condensed milk, corn syrup and butter in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Ensure you cook this over medium heat.
2.  Continue stirring while cooking untiul the batch reaches 245F on a candy thermometer.
3.  Stir in the salt and remove the pan from the heat, shocking the pan in cold water.  Remove the vanilla bean with tongs, and set aside to allow the caramel to cool slightly.

1 lb (1 1/2 c) good quality milk chocolate (I used a Lindt bar), tempered.
* Temper the chocolate when the caramel has set on the pecans (see below).

Tempering chocolate is the process of heating and cooling chocolate to ensure it will set with a proper gloss and desired snap.  If chocolate is not tempered, it will take a long time to set and will have gray streaks on the surface and the chocolate will be grainy.

You can temper chocolate by using a water bath, but I prefer the quick and easy microwave method.  Basically, all you do is chop up your chocolate, and place 3/4 of it in a microwavable bowl, setting aside the remaining 1/4 chocolate.  Microwave the chocolate on high for 30 seconds.  Take out of the microwave and stir, heating it again for 30 seconds.    Keep stirring and heating in 30 second increments until the chocolate is melted.  Remove from the microwave and add the remaining chocolate, mixing it in until it is also melted.  This "tempers" the chocolate, as by adding the cold chocolate, it brings the temperature down.

1.  On a parchment lined or greased baking sheet or small muffin tin, place the toasted pecans in groups of 5 (baking sheet) or groups of 3 (muffin tin).
2.  When the caramel has cooled to a thick, but fluid consistency, spoon a tablespoon (or so) onto each group of pecans to form the body of the "turtle" or "SGB."  Allow the candy to cool completely.
3.  Spoon or pipe the tempered chocolate on top of the cooled caramel, leaving some of the pecans exposed, or dip entirely in chocolate.  Let cool completely at room temperature.
4.  Store in a single layer in an airtight container.


Janet Feirin said...

Oh My Sweet Georgia Brown, Can you tell me about Nutty MacWhite?

Purdy's is good and I am a born and raised Vancouverite!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for posting this. Easy and delicious recipe.

Anonymous said...


Shawna said...

I was thrilled to find this recipe! They are my husband's absolute favorite. Extremely important to leave the chocolate prep until the end so you can focus on the caramel. The caramel cools and thickens to 'cement' consistency quite quickly so keep a close eye on it or you won't be able to spoon it over the pecans. Divine!!

miss muffi said...

This recipe is the closest thing to the real Purdy's!

Thank you so much for posting it!

Denise Armbruster said...

cool, I am so making these for my brother in laws for christmas...I can't afford to buy SGB's but I love them so much.

Darren said...

Question the caramel the recipe calls for "sugar". Is this brown sugar? I made these today an found that the caramel tasted more like condensed milk then caramel, and I don't know what I did wrong. My wife said it should be brown sugar, but I'm not sure.

Krystal said...

@Darren: Yes it should be brown sugar, not packed! (at least with my recipe)

I can't believe you used water to make your caramel...

judy said...

Thank you. I make these every 2 days and they are better than Purdy's. Congratulations.
I have a maple/vanilla fudge recipe that is the best if you want it.

laura said...

I made the SGB today, but I am still waiting for them to harden...its been about 2 hours....with this fabulos recipe, some time directions would really help

Ross Pearson said...

I work at Purdy's as the candy maker of Sweet Georgia Brown for 32 years now. Your ingredients for caramel is way different then the original that we created at Purdy's.
I'm sure it taste good however there is nothing as good as the original SGB from Purdy's

Anonymous said...

when you make these in the mini cupcake tins are they easy to get out once they have hardened?

Anonymous said...

OMG I got a box of SGBs for Christmas - I didn't open them for Christmas dinner - when I finally opened them I thanked God that I had been alone in the house when I opened those babies - they were just too too good to share I am sorry but I would not ever want to share them. There isn't a Purdys near me but 2 weeks later I had to go downtown - was advised to park at Sears and take the LRT downtown - oh no had to walk right by Purdys to catch the train but on way back home I did not even try to resist - whipped in and purchased box #2
and mea culpe I didn't share those either. Now I am going to try this recipe and I may share.

Anonymous said...

My husband loves SGB's - I bought them on a whim for him and he's been hooked ever since! He thought they were so good and wanted to share but not too much - he only offered a sliver to each person, lol. But, they are a little pricey to buy often so I am going to give your recipe a shot. Thanks!