For the Love of Pecans: Turtle Eggs, Jessica Murnane

For the Love of Pecans: Turtle Eggs, Jessica Murnane

Healthy Directions: Jessica Murnane, Turtle Eggs   
By Stephanie Burt

Jessica Murnane didn’t let illness and a change in diet stop her from finding joy in food. In fact, she began by learning to cook for herself, and started creating such delicious food that she started a movement -- One Part Plant -- that eventually landed her a cookbook, an invitation to speak at Apple, and 23,000 Instagram followers and counting.

The way she dealt with change is the way many of us do: a little resignation, a little kicking and screaming, and one day at a time. And she’s real about her journey and her approach in the kitchen, including how she uses one of the staples in her plant-based approach: nuts.

“They're so versatile,” she says. “I love making pesto with them, but also love grinding them up to make flours for cookies and pie crusts. Because I like to keep cooking as simple and easy as possible, it's important to have ingredients on hand that can work for both sweet and savory dishes. And pecans are one of those that can be used for both.”

Before Murnane started shifting her diet, she was really into Diet Coke, convenience meals, and candy, and one of her favorite candies of all time was Turtles, those little decadent bites of caramel and pecans dipped in chocolate. “When I had to change my diet and couldn't have them anymore, I knew I had to figure out a way I could eat them. I got to work and these were the result,” she explains. “The best thing is they're even easier to make then the OG Turtles I grew up with.”

She suggests Medjool dates as the best variety to use for this recipe, and she also suggests to be prepared for guests to think the candy is filled with caramel.


Turtle Eggs
from One Part Plant: A Simple Guide to Eating Real, One Meal at a Time by Jessica Murnane, Copyright 2017 by HarperCollins Publishers

Servings: 10-15 pieces

2 c. Medjool dates, pits removed
¼-½ tsp. salt , plus more if needed
18 pecan halves (1 for each turtle, so a couple extra just in case)
1 c. dairy-free or dark chocolate pieces

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
  2. In a food processor, process the dates and ¼ tsp. salt until a ball of dough forms. Be patient: this might take a few minutes. Taste the dough, and if you want to add more salt, add it now and process for another few seconds. Depending on the stickiness of your dates, a ball might not form all the way. That’s OK. Use a spatula or spoon to scrape down the sides of the food processor, collect the dough, and make your own ball.
  3. Roll the dough into heaping teaspoon-size balls. Press a pecan into the center of each and pinch the dough around it to seal it in there. Form the ball into an egg shape. You may need to wet your hands while doing this; it can get a little sticky.
  4. Transfer the eggs to the prepare baking sheet and put them in the freezer for an hour.
  5. While the dough freezes, melt the chocolate.
  6. Drop each turtle into the chocolate to coat it fully, then scoop it out with a fork, shaking it a little so the extra chocolate falls through the tines. Transfer the chocolate-coated eggs back to the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle each one with a little sea salt if you like. Return them to the freezer until the chocolate has set and you are ready to serve.

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