Recipe development often results in excess ingredients in my kitchen, and we have some leftover chocolate and no-bake cheesecake mixture from my DIY candy craze to thank for this happy accident of an invention: Cheesecake-filled Chocolate Turtles.
Are you still with me? I certainly hope so, because I have to footnote this creation with the following: Traditional turtles contain caramel. These turtles don’t have caramel. They have cheesecake. They’re less sticky. They’re less finicky. And lucky for us all, I’ve removed all of the calories. Once my friend heard that last part, she took down seven of these during an intense HGTV marathon (shout-out to my fellow Property Brothers enthusiasts). Whether or not my “friend” is actually named Kelly and has a site called Just a Taste is beside the point.
Enough of the chitchat. Cheesecake. Chocolate. Pecans. Sea salt. I’ll let you take it from here.
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- 4 ounces (½ of an 8-ounce package) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups semisweet, bittersweet or dark chocolate chips
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 2 Tablespoons large flake sea salt
- In a bowl, stir together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice until well combined. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag and refrigerate.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (The baking sheet will be placed in the fridge, so if necessary, use two smaller baking sheets.)
- Combine the chocolate chips and vegetable oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the chocolate is fully melted and smooth. (Alternately, you can melt the chocolate with the oil in a double boiler.)
- Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the melted chocolate onto the baking sheet, spacing each portion about 2 inches apart. Using the back of the spoon, spread each portion of chocolate out into a circle and then immediately place five pecans on top of the chocolate facing outward to mimic the shape of a turtle. Transfer the baking sheet to the fridge for 10 minutes until the chocolate has fully hardened.
- Remove the baking sheet and cheesecake mixture from the fridge. Pipe 2 teaspoons of the cheesecake mixture in the center of each turtle then top the cheesecake with about 2 more teaspoons of melted chocolate so that the cheesecake is fully covered. Sprinkle the tops of each turtle with sea salt then return the pan to the fridge for 20 minutes until the chocolate has fully hardened. If not serving immediately, store the turtles in an airtight container in the fridge.
- I prefer a mix of half semisweet chocolate chips and half bittersweet chocolate chips for the perfect balance of sweetness paired with the tangy cheesecake filling.
- If the melted chocolate hardens while waiting for the turtles to chill, simply re-microwave it on 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until it is smooth again.
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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.