Homemade pecan turtle candy that’s sugar-free and low carb? Oh baby! These delicious keto caramel pecan clusters are a truly special treat. Be ready to fight with your loved ones for the last of them!
When I was a kid, Pecan Turtles were the epitome of high class dessert in my mind. Despite the fact that they were sold in every drugstore and convenience mart, we didn’t get to have them very often. They were special treats, usually reserved for the holidays.
But oh, oh that combination of chewy caramel, toasted pecans, and rich chocolate. It was magical stuff and I always considered Turtles to be something to aspire to. Not until later did I realize that they were fairly plebeian and the brand was not even of the highest quality.
Still they retained near mythical proportions in my my head, especially when I got a chance to try the caramel pecan turtles from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Now those were something special, my friends! Pure sweet chocolate-y happiness.
Sugar Free Pecan Turtles
Until recently, I never wanted to try my hand at a sugar free version because I knew I couldn’t get the caramel gooey enough. I knew that although they would be tasty, they wouldn’t live up to the mythical pecan turtles in my head if the caramel part recrystallized.
But once I mastered my gooey, soft sugar free caramel sauce, I knew I had a chance at making truly delicious, chewy keto Turtles. Now, the caramel here isn’t exactly the same as my caramel sauce, it’s formulated to be thicker so it doesn’t run all over the place. But the flavour profile is very much the same.
You will also notice that I only put 3 or 4 pecans per cluster. You could do five and make it in the shape of a proper turtle. But it’s easier and a bit lower in carbs if you just do 3.
Tips for Sugar Free Turtle Candy
The caramel sauce is critical here. You need the right consistency and the right thickness, so that it clings to the pecans and doesn’t run all over your pan. To achieve this you need:
- Swerve Brown or another brown sugar substitute (such as Sukrin or Lakanto)
- Another sweetener that doesn’t harden or recrystallize, such as Bocha Sweet, allulose, or xylitol (no, you can’t use Lakanto or Sukrin here. They are both erythritol based, just like Swerve, so they will recrystallize too much)
- Xanthan gum to help thicken the sauce after boiling
- No water added to the sauce, you don’t want to thin it out
- To let it cool for a while after it’s finished cooking
Only then can you spoon it over the clusters of pecans. Make sure you do this on a rimmed cookie sheet, spread with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
Then you’re going to set the whole cookie sheet in the freezer for an hour or so, to help it firm up. Trust me, this is a necessary step so that you can get your turtle clusters off the parchment or silicone.
For the chocolate topping, you want to use butter to melt the chocolate. Normally I prefer to melt chocolate with cocoa butter or coconut oil. But those both make it too thin for this purpose. Butter tends to thicken the chocolate a bit more, again so it doesn’t run everywhere as you are trying to coat your turtles.
You can use milk chocolate instead of dark, if you prefer. Lily’s milk chocolate would be delicious.
To salt or not to salt? The turtle candies of my youth did not have sea salt on them. But oh my heavens, it’s a delicious addition. I highly recommend!
Seriously. Keto Pecan Turtles, where have you been all my life???
More Keto Candy Recipes
Sugar Free Pecan Turtle Candies
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the sweeteners and 4 tablespoons of the butter. Bring to a boil and cook 3 to 5 minutes, watching carefully so it doesn't burn. Remove from heat and add the cream. The mixture will bubble vigorously.
- Return the mixture to heat and bring back to a boil. Boil 3 minutes, watching carefully. Sprinkle the surface with xanthan gum and whisk to combine. Whisk in the salt. Let the caramel cool until thickened but still pourable, about 1 hour
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F and line a cookie sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Spread the pecans out on the mat in a single later and bake 7 to 10 minutes, until toasted. Arrange the pecans in clusters of 3 or 4, making about 20 to 24 clusters.
- Drizzle a few teaspoons of caramel over each pecan cluster, making sure some caramel is touching each of the pecans. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer to set the caramel.
- In a small bowl set over a bowl of barely simmering water, combine the chocolate and the remaining tablespoon of butter. Stir until melted and smooth, then drizzle over the chilled clusters.
- Sprinkle with sea salt if desired, and let set.