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 sizedPecans
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.