Turtle Bars

Bars – not quite a cake, not quite a biscuit. More like a tart? Not sure. All I know is that they are quick to make and oh so yummy.

I found this recipe for Turtle Bars in a Real Simple magazine. Remember when it was published in South Africa? Yeah, long time ago. I have one prized copy that contains this recipe. Mind you, I modify it every time because I never quite have all the ingredients at hand. Pecan nuts are expensive, so I used mixed nuts, for example. Oh, why are they called turtle bars? Because once out of the oven the combination of melted chocolate, nuts, and chewy filling, make them look like little turtle shells.

So I am sharing my version of turtle bars with you. They are real simple to make 😉

Turtle Bars (makes about 30, depending on the size of your squares)

500 ml (2 cups) of cake wheat flour
125 ml (1/2 cup) icing sugar
230 g  (about 1 cup) butter
1 tin condensed milk
1 large egg beaten
5 ml vanilla extract
250 ml (1 cup) mixed nuts or pecans, roughly chopped
2 80g slabs of chocolate – I used Cadbury’s Cashew and Coconut, which made it even nuttier!

optional: you can add pieces of marshmallow, soft caramels, white chocolate etc. you can’t really mess this up.


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Grease a 23 x 30 cm baking tin. I used a square 26 cm tin.
  2. Combine the flour, icing sugar, and butter in a food processor. Pulse until you have a crumbly dough. Don’t worry if it looks very crumbly. See step 3.
  3. Press the dough into the greased tin. Make sure it is nice and even and flat throughout.
  4. Bake until just golden for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it! If you didn’t flatten it nicely, some areas might get too brown while others still look like Vaalies on the beach in December.
  5. While the shortbread is baking, whisk together the condensed milk, egg, and vanilla. Pour it over the baked crust.
  6. Sprinkle the nuts and chocolate pieces evenly over the filling.
  7. Bake until the filling is set and the edges are golden, about 20 – 25 minutes.
  8. Cool in the fridge for around 2 hours, if you can wait that long. No you can cut them into squares and indulge.


No turtles where harmed in the making of this recipe.


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