Day 279: Turtle Bars


Waking up this morning was like Christmas – you know that second when you remember it’s Christmas and your heart starts to skip a little with excitement? That was me upon realizing I hadn’t checked my email in at least 8 hours. I’m sure this has been my giddiest weekend since getting to go see Gowan at Calaway Park, even though it poured rain and Todd didn’t show up. I have to start giving stuff away more often. (Perhaps I’ll instigate Free Stuff Fridays? What are the chances of another FedEx guy showing up at my door with more kitchen bling?)

Instead of working on one of my many near-due (or overdue) assignments or prepping for a class or event (I have a hellish week coming up) or spending quality time with W, I went back and forth between reading comments (I will never tire of hearing what other people make for dinner) and building a social network that anyone can join. I decided to forgo cooking tonight and instead brought W to my sister’s for roast lamb. She picked up a frozen leg pre-rubbed with garlic and rosemary from the Superstore, which was pretty damn yummy, and pulled wee, stumpy carrots from the garden and glazed them, unpeeled, with butter and apple jelly my niece and I made that didn’t quite set. I did make a few varieties of Christmas cookie for an article I’m working on though, so I contributed some Turtle Bars to the meal. And some Tim Horton’s coffees – so really, the most important part.

Turtle bars are much like the chocolates – rich confections full of caramel, pecans and chocolate, but in this case atop a chocolate shortbread base. Although these are lower in fat than most Turtle Bar recipes they are by no means low fat; but you can take some comfort in the fact that most of the fat is heart-healthy mono and polyunsaturated fat.


Turtle Bars

Recipe link


October 5, 2008



1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp. cocoa

pinch salt


1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 large eggs

3/4 cup corn syrup

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup pecan halves

1/2 cup chocolate chips or chunks



2Preheat oven to 375°F.


4In a medium bowl, stir together the butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add flour, cocoa and salt and stir until well combined and crumbly.


6Press into the bottom of an 8” x 8” pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until just set. Don’t worry if the surface cracks.


8In the same bowl (no need to wash it), stir together the brown sugar and flour. (Stirring the flour and sugar together first gets rid of any lumps in the flour.) Add the eggs, corn syrup, vanilla and salt and mix until smooth.


10Spread the pecans and chocolate chips evenly over the crust and pour the filling over top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until puffed and golden. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Makes 12 bars.



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10 comments on “Day 279: Turtle Bars

  1. maplesugar
    October 5, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    You’re working on Christmas articles, Homesense has Christmas decorations out alongside Halloween. Truly bizarre – the trip to Homesense that is, your fruitcake brownie on the other hand is intriguing. As always, thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Nancy Gibson
    October 6, 2008 at 4:51 am

    I look forward to my Dinner with Julie mail every day! I have made countless recipes from your book Grazing and stumbled on your website quite by accident but have not missed a day since I found it!
    Crockpot Contest was timely –I had pulled out my 15 year old crockpot (knob is gone but still works great!) to make split pea soup with sweet potatoes and spinach. While it cooked, I browned some lean ground chicken and shredded in the rest of the zucchini from the garden, some grated carrot lots of garlic, basil and some chili peppers. Threw in some tomato sauce and tomato paste and we had chicken, veggie spaghetti sauce over whole wheat rotini for supper.
    Keep those emails coming! I made your brownies, ginger cookies and berry crumble cake yesterday to freeze for kids lunches. I haven’t bought a store bought treat since I found your book and website!

  3. Jillian
    October 6, 2008 at 7:45 am

    I love your blog Julie!! I’ve tried so many of your ideas – this website is my usual go-to for inspiration and reliable recipes. Just this weekend I took over your spinach and artichoke dip over to a friend’s house for dinner. I added 2 tsp of curry powder and some lemon zest (we were having an indian themed night) and the dip lasted about 10 minutes hot from the oven. Let’s just say there were some burnt tongues :)

    Please please please keep this blog running in the new year! I love reading it every morning.

    Jill in Calgary

  4. Theresa
    October 6, 2008 at 8:22 am

    Freebie Friday could be cookies and snacks that you make!!! We’re not so proud we can’t eat left overs 😉

  5. Lana
    October 6, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Opened the blog, saw the photo of the Turtle Bars and drooled all over my keyboard.
    I am going to a women’s retreat in a couple of weeks and plan to bring these bars…oh yes, I will be THE most popular “Riverhouse Diva” EVER.

  6. Bonnie
    October 6, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Boy oh boy do both of those recipes ever look good. My SO will love the Turtle Bars (that is, if he gets any!). I became a Julie follower when another forum mentioned the Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps recipe from your Grazing cookbook. I checked out the book and bought two copies – one for myself and one for my DIL (with two almost teenaged boys she said that the book perfectly fits the cooking style in the house these days!). I now have a copy of One Smart Cookie which is also well used — I love the idea of a cookbook full of delicious lower fat cookies, squares, brownies and biscotti. Anyway Julie you are appreciated more than you could ever imagine — you shouldn’t have to bribe us to find that out. Although are far as that super deluxe crockpot goes – pick me, pick me! :-)

  7. Carol
    October 6, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    I discovered your site quite by accident shortly after being diagnosed with breast cancer in early February. My life had been turned upside down by this diagnosis and the subsequent surgery, rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. The one constant I had throughout this time, was visiting your site every morning to find out what Julie’s family had for dinner the night before. Although you could not have know it, you really did have a positive impact on my life during this time. Thanks so much for your humour and your great recipes

  8. Adrienne
    October 8, 2008 at 10:10 am

    I tried your Turtle Bars last night, they were so delicious, I had to order my boyfriend to take them away from me. I brought some into work this morning as well, and they were gone before I could change my mind about giving them away. Thanks!

  9. Magda
    May 29, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    can i substitute corn syrup for maple syrup?

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