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25 homemade holiday gift recipes: Chocolate pecan turtles

Chocolate pecan turtles make a great last-minute homemade holiday gift idea

Still looking for a last-minute gift idea? I have your solution: chocolate pecan turtles. These little goodies come together in less than an hour, and you can't go wrong with chocolate. Or pecans. Or caramel. Did I mention simple?

Just be sure to make an extra batch so you can keep some for yourself.

Chocolate pecan turtles are just one way to get crafty this holiday season with homemade gifts from the kitchen. We've compiled 25 great ideas, including quick and simple gifts (perfect if you're working with kids) and more intricate projects that call for a little extra time and patience.

Some gifts will last for weeks, perhaps more. Others are best eaten within a day or two.

Not only are homemade gifts a great way to save money during the holiday season, they're a thoughtful and creative way to show how much you care.

CHOCOLATE PECAN TURTLES

Total time: 40 minutes | Makes 40 turtles

Note: From Michaela Rosenthal, Woodland Hills. You can use whatever chocolate suits your taste.

    3/4 pound caramels
    1 pound pecans, chopped
    Nonstick cooking spray
    1/2 pound chocolate
    About 1/2 cup whole pecans (about 40 pecans)

1. Melt the caramels in the top of a double boiler set over, but not touching, simmering water, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, place 1 tablespoon each of chopped nuts on a baking sheet in mounds 1 inch apart. Spray both sides of 2 spoons with nonstick cooking spray. Using the spoons, drop about 1 tablespoon of melted caramel on top of each nut cluster. You may need to reheat the caramel if it gets too hard as you work.

3. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over, but not touching, simmering water.

4. When the caramel has hardened, about 10 minutes, pick up each nut cluster (the nuts should be firmly attached to the bottom of the caramel), gently shake off any excess nut pieces and dip each turtle halfway into the melted chocolate. Place the turtles on wax paper and press a whole pecan onto each piece. Let cool, then store in an airtight container.

Each turtle: 150 calories; 22 mg sodium; 1 mg cholesterol; 12 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 12 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 1.64 gram fiber.

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