Tasty turtles

Presidents used to eat turtles, as did millions of Americans. The demand for turtle was once so high, many populations are still recovering from the harvesting of past generations. For this turtle issue, we share a few turtle-inspired recipes you can enjoy without the guilt of eating a Federally protected species.

Small wonders

With just three ingredients, these tasty little turtles are one of the easiest treats you will ever make. If you don’t have any pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews or almonds are a great substitute.

LOCAL Life Test Kitchen – Turtle pretzels


20 mini pretzels

20 chocolate covered caramel candies (like Rolos)

20 pecan halves

Directions Heat oven to 300 degrees. Arrange the pretzels in a single layer on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place one chocolate covered caramel candy on each pretzel. Bake for four minutes. While the candy is warm, press a pecan half onto each pretzel. Cool and serve.

Say cheese(cake)

Topped with a decadent combination of pecans, caramel and chocolate, this sweet dessert will be talked about long after the plates have been cleaned.

LOCAL Life Test Kitchen – Turtle cheesecake

Ingredients (crust)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup pecans, chopped

6 tablespoons butter, cubed

Directions Wrap heavy-duty foil around a greased 9-inch springform pan. In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and pecans. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press onto the bottom of prepared pan. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack.

Ingredients (filling)

4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, divided

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, melted and cooled

1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping

1/3 cup pecans, chopped

Directions [1] In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugars until smooth. Beat in 1/4 cup flour, cream and vanilla extract. Add eggs. Beat on low speed just until blended. Remove 1 cup batter to a small bowl; stir in melted chocolate. Spread over crust. [2] In another bowl, mix caramel topping and remaining flour; stir in pecans. Drop by tablespoonfuls over batter. Top with remaining batter. Place springform pan in a large baking pan. Add 1 inch of hot water to larger pan. [3] Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove springform pan from water bath; remove foil. Cool cheesecake on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen sides from pan with a knife. Refrigerate overnight.

Ingredients (ganache)

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons pecans, chopped

Caramel ice cream topping

Directions Place chips in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over chips; whisk until smooth. Cool slightly, stirring occasionally. Remove sides of springform pan. Spread ganache over cheesecake; sprinkle with pecans. Drizzle with additional caramel topping before serving.

Turn tail

Mock turtle soup was created in the mid-18th Century as a cheaper imitation of green turtle soup. This recipe uses oxtail to duplicate the silky texture and unique flavor of turtle meat. It tastes even better on the second day.

LOCAL Life Test Kitchen – Mock turtle soup


1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, diced

2 pounds beef oxtail

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon Old Bay

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon flour

3 cups chicken stock

3 cups water

1 cup tomatoes, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons Kitchen Bouquet Browning & Seasoning Sauce

1/2 lemon, peeled and sliced

2 eggs, hard boiled and chopped

Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Parsley, chopped

Directions [1] Brown the onion and garlic with butter and oil. Add the oxtail and brown slightly. Add thyme, allspice, Old Bay, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Stir in the flour until it bubbles. Add more butter and oil if needed. [2] Pour in the chicken stock and hot water. Bring to a boil. Add tomatoes, Kitchen Bouquet sauce and sliced lemon. Simmer for 2 hours. [3] Discard the oxtail bones, adding the meat back into the soup. Stir eggs into the soup and serve. Top with chopped parsley.

Key ingredient

Kitchen Bouquet Browning & Seasoning Sauce

This gluten-free sauce is great for flavoring and coloring meats prior to grilling, baking or broiling. Mix it in with ground beef, tomato sauce, seasoned breadcrumbs and eggs for a satisfying meatloaf. Brush it on hamburgers, roast beef, pork chops and more for appetizing dinners. You even can use it to transform simple stuffing into something special.

Try This

Support our local economy while eating well. Brighten any day by adding these three stops to your itinerary. Send photos of the experience to info@wearelocallife.com.

For early dessert: The G-Free Spot

Just one bite of this coffee cake and you’re hooked. Grab a few oatmeal raisin cookies for later while you are there.

For lunch: Bad Biscuit

Order the sirloin steak over medium eggs with golden hash browns and a biscuit. Wash it down with a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Next time you are in the Asheville area, be sure to explore their swanky brewery.

For drinks: Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar

We recommend the Carolina Horseman draft with an order of jalapeño cheddar cornbread at this luxurious bar with panoramic bottle views.

Turtle treats

Elevate your day with these sweet offerings from local chocolate shops.

Chocolate Turtles

These pecan turtles at The Chocolate Canopy are made by hand and feature layers of decadent chocolate, creamy caramel and crunchy pecans. Available in milk, dark and white chocolate.

Dark Cashew Tuttles

Made with copper-kettle caramel, select cashews and irresistible dark chocolate, these treats from Kilwins Hilton Head are sure to delight your taste buds.

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