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Caramel Pretzel Turtles

14-ounce bag soft caramels (about 48)

10-ounce bag pretzel nuggets

12 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped

2 cups toasted almonds, finely chopped

Line a baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper. Set aside.

Unwrap the caramels. One at a time, place a caramel between two sheets of parchment paper (not paper from baking sheet), then use a rolling pin to roll it into an oval about 1/8 inch thick.

Wrap flattened caramel around a pretzel nugget, pinching ends to seal. Set aside on another sheet of parchment paper. Repeat with remaining caramels and pretzel nuggets.

In a double boiler over simmering water or in microwave, melt half the chocolate, stirring occasionally, until smooth. If using a double boiler, remove pan from heat. Add the remaining chocolate and stir until smooth.

Place the almonds in a shallow bowl. One at a time, use a fork to dip each pretzel nugget in chocolate to coat, tapping off any excess, then dip it in almonds to coat. Set on prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining pretzels.

Let stand until set, about 3 hours, before packaging. Consider wrapping each turtle in cellophane hard candy-style, then heaping them in cones fashioned from festive cardstock.

Makes 48 turtles.

— Recipe from the December 2007/January 2008 issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine