I bake like a man possessed on holidays and take great pride in the fact that I still make things the hard way. I suppose it's my Scots heritage, but in my mind taking shortcuts is cheating and I won't have it. I may be the only one at the table who gets it that my pie crusts are authentic and that my cookies are the real deal, and a lot of times that's all that matters. Baking without pre-prepared shortcuts makes me feel like I'm carrying on a dying tradition --I feel like I'm keeping alive the memories and traditions of my grandmothers. It gives me a tremendous amount of satisfaction to share the results of those efforts with the people I love.
Though it pains me to admit it, probably the most popular thing that comes out of my kitchen at Christmas is a confection that every fiber of my being tells me is all wrong. It's embarrassing to put them out on the table and I wrestle with whether or not to make them every year. My public demands them and who am I to stand up to popular opinion? Besides, they're good to the point of obscenity. I'm referring to something called a Rolo Turtle. A Rolo is a chocolate-covered caramel that's not anything I've give a whole lot of thought to under ordinary circumstances. Combine a melted one with a pretzel and a pecan half though, and the humble Rolo is elevated to something that defies description.
An old friend of mine who's a huge fan of shortcuts brought them out at a party a couple of years ago and despite my inclination to turn up my nose and scoff, I couldn't get enough of them.
Here's the recipe but please don't credit me if you make them yourself. I have a reputation to maintain.
ROLO TURTLESIngredients:1 package small square pretzels1 13-oz. package Rolos1 package Pecan HalvesDirections:Preheat oven to 250 Degrees.Cover a cookie sheet withaluminum foil and place pretzels individually to formone layer only. Place one Rolo on top of each pretzel.Bake at 250 degrees for 4 minutes or until the Rolos aresoftened. Immediately remove from the oven and quicklyplace a pecan half on top of a candy and push down tosquish the chocolate into the pretzel and flatten out.Cool for 20 minutes, then place uncovered in refrigeratorfor about 20 minutes to set. Transfer to a decorative platter.