Cascabel Caramel Turtles

These chiles will add a deep, nutty flavor to dishes and are great to use in salsas and sauces. It is a medium-hot chile that is good in soups, stews, sauces and sausage.

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24 soft caramels
2 Tbsp. frozen whipped topping
butter flavored vegetable cooking spray
72 pecan halves
4 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
8 Cascabel chiles, stems and seeds removed, finely crushed

In a microwave-safe mixing bowl, combine the caramels and whipped topping. Cook on 50% power for 45 seconds. Remove the bowl , stir and put back in the microwave. Continue this process in 10 second increments until the mixture has melted and is smooth and well blended. Let the mixture cool slightly.

Spray a cookie sheet lightly with the cooking oil. Place the pecan halves on the pan in groups of 3, arranged so that each pecan group forms a “Y” shape. These form the turtles head and legs. Carefully spread the caramel mixture over each, leaving the ends of the pecans showing. Set aside until the caramel has hardened.

Place the chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl. Cook in the microwave on 50% power for 45 seconds, remove and stir, and repeat the process in 10 intervals until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in cascabels and let the mixture cool slightly.

Spoon the melted chocolate over the caramel, being careful not to cover the exposed ends of the pecans.

Set aside until hard. Using a covered container, store in a cool place.

Yield: 2 dozen

Heat Scale: Medium

This recipe is from the book “Sweet Heat,” by Melissa Stock and David DeWitt.