Turtles Without Nuts: Fruit Cup Turtles Recipe

Turtle Tuffle bark

A turtle without nuts? Believe it. This controversial confection is a key player in the new book Turtle, Truffle, Bark: Simple and Indulgent Chocolates to Make at Home.

Is it ok to make turtles with fruit instead of nuts? I say as long as the caramel is present, proceed. What do you think? Here's the recipe. 

Turtle Tuffle bark

Fruit Cup Turtles

Eek! A turtle without nuts? Well, why the hell not?
These days, we’ve got such an assortment of dried fruits to choose from, it boggles the mind. I can’t get

enough of those dried tart cherries, so let’s throw those in, along with chopped papaya and a bit of chopped, candied lemon peel. Let’s pretend these turtles are health food, and top them with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Chocolate color? Choose your poison. There is absolutely no way to do these wrong. Take two of these and call me in the morning!


  • 2 cups dried tart cherries
  • 2 cups chopped papaya
  • 1 cup chopped lemon peel
  • 3/4 pound caramel
  • 1 pound tempered chocolate
  • 1/2 cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds


Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Spread cherries in an even layer on the parchment. Layer papaya on top of the cherries. Sprinkle lemon peel on top of cherries and papaya. Set aside.

Place prepared caramel into a bowl. Put bowl in microwave, and heat on high for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Take out of microwave, stir well with medium­sized spatula, and put back in for 30 seconds. At this point, your caramel should be in liquid form.

Scoop a dollop of caramel from the bowl with your small silicone spatula, and using your other spatula, ease the caramel off the spatula and onto the fruit. Try to make them anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter, depending on the size of the turtles you’d like to make. You’ll end up with 20 to 24 caramel turtle middles.

When caramel is completely cooled, you can start assembling your turtles.

Line one or two 18x13 sheet pans with parchment paper. Using a candy funnel, deposit dollops of chocolate on the parchment paper. Each one should be approximately 1 1⁄2 inches in diameter and there should be about an inch between each dollop. Make about six dollops, then place a caramel middle on each one. Continue making bottoms, topping with caramel, every six or so. When you have all your bottoms and middles done, go back to where you started and top the caramel with chocolate. You want to use enough chocolate to mostly cover the caramel. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top.

When turtles are completely hardened, they will last in an airtight container for three weeks. 

Excerpted with permission from Turtle, Truffle, Bark: Simple and Indulgent Chocolates to Make at Home