Notes from the Test Kitchen:
Turtles are a favorite in my house. In fact, my mother-in-law always used to have a plateful of these sweet fellas to serve at the holidays. Each bite of Jess' recipe brought back fond memories. Make some for your own holiday celebrations... or wrap 'em up and give as a gift! Delightful.
Prepare countertop with parchment paper (NOT wax paper - it'll stick to your caramel). Arrange toasted pecan halves in a five-point star shape, dropping crumbs or small broken pieces in the middle. Should make about 30.
Using a double boiler (or a glass bowl set over a saucepan - method: fill saucepan about a 1/4 full of water, set bowl on top. Boil gently to melt ingredients.) Melt the caramels and Cool-Whip. Stir frequently to smooth out clumps.
When the caramel is smooth, drop tablespoonfuls of it onto the center of the pecans. (I use 2 spoons to accomplish this) Let harden.
Clean out your bowl, and use the same double boiler process to melt your chocolate. When your chocolate has melted. Spread over caramel on the turtles and let set.
If you're having trouble with the chocolate setting, use scissors to cut the parchament paper into squares around each turtle. Place on a tray or in a container and refrigerate for about an hour. Once set, remove from refrigerator and remove parchament paper bottoms.