This chocolate pecan turtle bark is a delicious sweet treat made with milk chocolate chips, pecans, and caramels, and sprinkled with a bit of coarse salt.
It’s a great holiday gift and is perfect for making in advance to freeze for later.
The perfect recipe for a quick and easy dessert any time of the year.
What is pecan bark chocolate?
This pecan bark chocolate recipe is made in just a few steps with only five ingredients.
Since it needs to chill for about 30 minutes after creating the chocolate, caramel, and pecan layers, it’s ready to eat within an hour after pouring it all together.
It’s a great gift idea and can be wrapped in a cellophane bag and handed out to all your friends and neighbors during the holidays.
Or, if you want to make a batch and eat it all by yourself, go for it!
There’s no wrong way to make pecan turtle bark.
- 12 ounces of milk chocolate chips
- 4.25 ounces soft caramels (Werther’s works great!)
- 1 ½ teaspoon heavy cream or milk
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- Salt flakes or kosher salt (I love the Falksalt flakey sea salt)
How to make this pecan turtle bark recipe:
Here’s a brief overview of how to make this dish. See the recipe card below for the specific recipe instructions.
Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper.
Microwave chocolate chips for 30-second increments, stirring well between each session until mostly melted, then stir until they are melted completely.
Spread chocolate onto the prepared sheet until about ¼” thick.
Combine the heavy cream and caramel together and microwave for 30-second increments, stirring in between until the caramel is smooth and creamy.
It may look like there is too much liquid, but it does come together after mixing.
Spread caramel over the chocolate.
Sprinkle the chopped pecans and salt on top of the caramel.
Allow it to set for about 30 minutes. You may want to chill the bark in the fridge or freezer to allow the caramel to set before breaking into small pieces.
Tips for success:
Here are a few tips for success and variations you can try to make this the best pecan turtle bark you’ve ever had.
- Refrigerate the bark to set so it will break into nice pieces.
- Microwave the chocolate in a glass bowl in 30-second intervals until they are almost completely melted, and stir to finish melting them.
- Or melt the chips in a double boiler with a small saucepan and stir with a rubber spatula to combine the chocolate mixture.
Here are some variations you can try when making these chocolate turtles.
- Use a different flavor of chocolate like white chocolate, peppermint chocolate, or dark chocolate.
- Add in almond extract for a flavor change.
- Sprinkle a little sea salt on top before it hardens.
- Add in some dried fruit to make cranberry chocolate, or use strawberries or candied orange pieces.
- Sprinkle in a small amount of cayenne powder to make your chocolate spicy.
The best chocolate for making turtles
When choosing the chocolate for these turtles, remember that it’s the star of the dish, so it needs to be high-quality.
You’ll be able to tell the difference if you use cheap chocolate.
Also, the more high-quality the chocolate is, the better the candy bar will set and break apart into the desired “bark.”
You can use chocolate chips, melting chocolate, or baking chocolate for this dessert.
If you want to make keto chocolate bark, you can use sugar-free chocolate chips.
Use different levels of cacao (milk, semi, bittersweet, dark) or a combination depending on how bitter or sweet you like your chocolate layers.
Toast the pecans
One of the best ways to add depth of flavor to your pecan turtle bark is to toast the pecans first. This brings out their nutty flavors and really gives this treat a boost.
You can toast them in a dry pan on the stove, in the oven on broil, or in the air fryer.
Keep in mind that nuts toast very quickly once they start browning. Stand right in front of them and continue to stir until they are as toasted as you like. Nuts tend to burn if you look away!
Best caramel to use
Adding caramel to the melted chocolate is easily the best part of pecan turtle bark.
You have a few options when it comes to the caramel in this recipe. You can buy it from the store, or you can make caramel at home.
Try Werther’s Soft caramels, Kraft caramels, other store-bought brands, or homemade caramels.
The most important thing is that they are fresh and haven’t been sitting in your pantry for months.
If the caramels are old and dry, they won’t melt very well and will be too stiff to use.
They might also have crystallized, so it’s best to taste them before using them in your recipe.
Other nuts to use
Pecans are a delicious addition to this sweet treat, but you can use other chopped nuts if you’d prefer.
Some of the best options include macadamia nuts, almonds, and walnuts.
If you make them as holiday gifts for your friends or family, choose their favorite nuts or leave them out entirely.
How to store:
On the counter: Keep leftover pecan turtle bark in an airtight container or a zip-top bag on the counter for up to five days.
To refrigerate: You can also put your pecan chocolate bark in a container and keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks.
To freeze: Another great option is to store the bark in the freezer if you want to make some ahead of time or if you know you won’t be able to eat it quickly enough.
No, you can use coconut oil instead of heavy cream if you’d prefer.
Yes, leave out the caramel and use sugar-free chocolate
You may want to add some sugar-free sweeteners, so the chocolate isn’t too bitter. Some options include stevia, erythritol, xylitol, and monk fruit.
Yes, you can make Christmas peppermint bark by adding crushed peppermint or peppermint extract to the chocolate.
Chocolate Pecan Turtle Bark
Be sure to check out my tips and tricks in the post. Scroll up to read!
- Wax Paper
- Cookie sheet
- 2 medium microwave-safe bowls
- Spatula or large spoon
- 12 ounces milk chocolate chips
- 4.25 ounces soft caramels Werther’s works great!
- 1 ½ teaspoon heavy cream or milk
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- Salt flakes or kosher salt to taste
- Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
- Microwave chocolate for 30 second increments, stirring well between each session until mostly melted, then stir until chocolate is melted completely.
- Spread chocolate onto prepared sheet until about ¼” thick.
- Combine the heavy cream and caramel together and microwave for 30 second increments, making sure to stir in between until caramel is smooth and creamy. It may look like there is too much liquid, but it does come together after mixing.
- Spread caramel over the chocolate.
- Sprinkle the chopped pecans and salt on top of the caramel.
- Allow to set for about 30 minutes. You may want to chill the bark in the fridge or freezer to allow the caramel to set before breaking into pieces.
Nutrition information is estimated. For the most accurate info, always doublecheck with your ingredients.