Roasted turkey doesn't have to be the only turkey you enjoy this Thanksgiving. Sure, it's traditional to have the bird for dinner and pumpkin pie for dessert, but what if a different kind of turkey appeared on your dessert plate?
Four different kinds of candy go into the making of these adorable candy turkeys. The bodies are rich chocolate truffles, the wings are candy corn, and the heads are chocolate-covered peanuts with a fruit chew beak. Read on to find out how to make these candy turkeys for your own Thanksgiving table.
Candy Turkeys for Thanksgiving
yield: 16 turkeys
- 8 ounces, or about 1-1/3 cup, chopped chocolate
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces chocolate candy coating
- 1/3 cup Chocolate-covered peanuts
- 1 cup candy corn
- 3 yellow fruit chews, like Zaza fruit chews or Starburst
- Large white sprinkles
The first thing to do is make the chocolate truffle mixture, so make sure the chocolate is finely chopped and in a heat-safe bowl. Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, and heat it until it comes to a simmer. When it's ready, small bubbles will appear along the edges of the pan, but don't allow the cream to come to a full boil.
Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Allow it to sit for 30 seconds to soften the chocolate, then begin to gently whisk them together.
Whisk until the chocolate is entirely melted and the mixture is glossy and smooth. This is your ganache. Press a piece of cling wrap to the top of the ganache and refrigerate it for about 90 minutes, or until it is firm enough to hold its shape when scooped, but not so hard that it cannot be rolled into a ball.
While you're waiting for the ganache to firm up, assemble the turkey heads. (Bet you never thought you'd see those instructions in a recipe, right?) The first step is to form the bird's beaks. Cut off a small corner from one of the yellow fruit chews. Pinch it between your fingers to thin it out and elongate it, until you get a rough beak shape. I gave mine a slight curve at the base to match the curve of the chocolate nuts representing the heads. You should have enough ganache for 16 turkeys, so you can make up to 16 beaks, or do fewer if that's all you need.
Melt the candy coating in the microwave until it is smooth and liquid. We'll be using the coating not only to dip the truffles, but also as "glue" to help us assemble the birds, so keep it handy during the rest of the recipe. Dip a toothpick in the melted candy coating and spread a thin layer of coating on the inside of one of the beaks. Press the beak near the bottom of a chocolate peanut and hold it until it feels set. Between the melted coating and the natural stickiness of the fruit chew, they don't take very long to set up.
Use a toothpick to dot melted coating in two spots above the beak, and press a large white candy sprinkle on each dot. If you don't have the sprinkles, you could melt a little white chocolate and use melted white chocolate dots as eyes instead.
Add a tiny dab of chocolate candy coating in the center of the sprinkle with a toothpick, to complete the turkey's face. Set the heads aside for now.
When your ganache is firm but not hard, it's time to roll it into truffles. Cover a baking sheet with foil or waxed paper, and place a little cocoa powder in a bowl. Dust your hands with cocoa. Use a candy scoop or a teaspoon to form balls of ganache, then roll them between your palms to make them round. If the ganache is very sticky and doesn't easily hold a ball, it needs more time in the refrigerator. If it's so firm it resists being rolled between the palms, let it warm up at room temperature for 5-10 minutes and try again. You should get about 16 1-inch truffles from this recipe.
If the truffles are still quite hard after being rolled, they can be dipped right away. If they've gotten soft at room temperature, refrigerate them for about 15 minutes to firm them up a little and help them withstand dipping. Don't abandon them in the fridge and let them get rock-hard--your turkey feathers will thank me for this advice later!
Once you're ready to dip, make sure the candy coating is nice and fluid. You may need to microwave it for a few seconds to re-warm it if it has started to set. Use a fork to dip a truffle completely in the coating, then tap the fork against the lip of the bowl to let the excess drip off the candy. Place the dipped truffle back on the baking sheet.
While the coating is still wet, take two candy corn pieces and press them into opposite sides of the truffle. You'll want to do both at once, so the opposing motion will hold the truffle in place and keep it from slipping around on the baking sheet. This is why the texture of the truffle is important: if it's too soft it will lose its shape when dipped, but if it's too hard you won't be able to insert the candy corn.
Continue to press candy corn into the truffles until you have a whole tail of turkey feathers. I found that five candy corn seemed to be a perfect number for my turkeys.
Once all of the truffles are dipped and feathered, refrigerate them to set the coating, for about 10 minutes. After that is set, it's a simple matter of attaching the heads and then you're done! Smear a small amount of melted coating on the back of a chocolate peanut, then press the peanut to the front of a truffle. Hold it there until the coating sets and can support the turkey head. The cold temperature of the truffle makes this a pretty quick task, and in no time your birds will be finished.
Congratulations, you now have an army of candy turkeys! I like to use these as place settings at my Thanksgiving table, pairing one with a name tag for each guest. They also make a great seasonal gift, or craft activity for older children. You can keep these truffles for up to two weeks in an airtight container at room temperature, but my guess is that once your friends and family see these candy turkeys, they'll be gobbled right up.
All text and images (c) Elizabeth LaBau