Island Sea Turtles Recipe -
Island Sea Turtles Recipe

Island Sea Turtles

Recipe by  

"A twist on the classic turtle, this addictive candy brings together macadamia nuts and bittersweet chocolate with a buttery coconut caramel. Topped with a sprinkling of sea salt, it's the perfect blend of sweet and savory."

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Original recipe makes 36 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    45 mins
  • COOK

    25 mins

    1 hr 10 mins


  1. Preheat 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 aside.
  2. Toast coconut in oven for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Pulse in food processor or chop into shorter strands.
  3. 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.
  4. Remove saucepan from heat, stir in vanilla and coconut. Cool slightly; spoon a tablespoon of coconut caramel over each nut cluster; cool completely.
  5. 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.
  6. Store in an airtight container at room temperature, separating layers with wax paper for up to 1 week.
Kitchen-Friendly View


  • Tip: To prevent the formation of sugar crystals in the caramel, wash down the sides of pan using a pastry brush dipped in water.

Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Nov 23, 2008

This was the easiest caramel recipe. I used it to make carameled apples. I didn't use the coconut for the turtles but other that that it came out perfect. I had no problems with sugar crystals forming.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Dec 14, 2008

If I had to make these over again I would make some minor adjustments. 4-5 nuts in a cluster are just right. Make sure all of your macadamia nuts are halved. Also, 244 degrees is just too hot - 240 would be just about perfect. At 244 the caramel becomes chewy and almost too hard to eat after it has cooled. Afterr you remove the mixture from the burner you have to work quickly. My caramel becane stiff and difficult to work with after a few minutes off the burner. Not sure I would make these again...


13 Ratings

Dec 09, 2008

Its so CUTE!!! I'm sure that i would have a bite of it if i could...... For the recipe, i wish to make a little suggestion: Maybe you could correct it by using chocolate, because chocolate taste good too!!

Dec 10, 2008

Very good, carmel stays soft and chewy. I used chocolate chips because I didn't have bittersweet chocolate. That seemed a bit too sweet. Next time I will be sure to use bittersweet chocolate.

Dec 21, 2008

These are very yummy and a great spin on turtles. A couple of suggestions.....remove from heat at about 238 to 240. Certainly store in the fridge, but take out a couple of hours before serving or you will be disappointed in how hard the carmel is. Otherwise this is a very delicious candy and very easy to make.

Dec 29, 2008

Very clever and very yummy. This was my first attempt at candy making and I'm pretty impressed. My caramel stayed very soft, so plan on treating these guys gentley. Also I had to wait quite awhile for the caramel to cool enough to work with. I think mine took about an hour (though I may have slightly undercooked mine). Also, you can just break up the toasted coconut with you hands (no food processor or knife required) and stir it in. I made the caramel and put it over the nuts one evening, put them in the fridge and did the coating the next day. I made 36 (with 6 nut pcs each) and had some extra nuts and chocolate left over. I think 10 oz of bittersweet(with a tablespoon of shortening) would have been plenty. I did sprinkle the candies with just a little sea salt and encourage others to try it. The salt pairs wonderfully with the sweet caramel. I'm not talking about table salt or kosher salt. These are little flakes of sea salt (which has a slightly mineral taste and is less salty than other kinds). Again, I am a candy novice and they came out great. I'll definitely make them again and would certainly recommend the recipe to others.

Mar 03, 2009

Carmel lacked flavor

Apr 14, 2009

These taste great! The only tricky part is assembling the turtles early enough that the caramel is still soft, but not so early that the turtles "spread" and deform after you create them. Keep an eye on the caramel temperature when cooking it, I think mine was a bit too soft. I will definitley hold on to this recipe and make again because they taste so good and look really cute.


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  • Calories
  • 215 kcal
  • 11%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 21.8 g
  • 7%
  • Cholesterol
  • 10 mg
  • 3%
  • Fat
  • 14.1 g
  • 22%
  • Fiber
  • 1.7 g
  • 7%
  • Protein
  • 2.1 g
  • 4%
  • Sodium
  • 49 mg
  • 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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