Homemade caramel is the "glue" that holds this macadamia nut and coconut turtle together. It is then coated with bittersweet chocolate and finished with a sprinkling of sea salt.
12 ounces dry roasted and salted macadamia nuts
1 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Sea salt, to taste
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place macadamia nuts in 36 clusters of 4 to 7 nuts each, 2 inches apart; set
Toast coconut in oven for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Pulse
in food processor or chop into shorter strands.
Butter the inside of a heavy 3-quart saucepan. Melt 1/2 cup butter over
low heat. Add sugar, corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk; mix well. Increase
heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce
heat to medium and continue to boil, stirring frequently until mixture reaches
244 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
Remove saucepan from heat, stir in vanilla and coconut. Cool slightly; spoon
a tablespoon of coconut caramel over each nut cluster; cool completely.
Place chocolate in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave 30 seconds on HIGH,
stir and continue to microwave in 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring after
each. Chocolate should be smooth, but not warm.
Dip tops of caramel-nut clusters
in chocolate and sprinkle with sea salt.
Place in refrigerator to set chocolate.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature, separating layers with
wax paper for up to 1 week.
Servings: 3 dozen
To prevent the formation of sugar crystals in the caramel, wash down the sides
of pan using a pastry brush dipped in water.