Sweets

Caramel Pecan Clusters

Quarantine. Virus. Social Distancing. Not words that I thought I would ever use, however, it seems as though these are the only words that come to mind recently. It’s pretty shocking thinking about a month ago when this was only a passing thought, a story on the news. Now, stores are closing, shelves are empty, and there’s a strong sense of panic living in all of us.

This is the time when our self-preservation and self-care come into play. As we hunker down in our houses, it’s time to let our creativity shine, as we learn to enjoy this moment of stillness. For me, the best way to decompress is definitely in the kitchen! I wanted something that would be super easy to snack on during all of the binge-watching that will be occurring over the next couple of days!

These caramel clusters are so sweet and chewy with the perfect amount of crunch from the pecans! I love them! Super easy to make, and probably won’t last past the second episode!

One of the best tools for this recipe is a silicone baking mat! The caramel gets very sticky, but using the mat allows these candies to just pop right off when they’re done cooling! If you don’t have a silicone baking mat, I would suggest using parchment paper or wax paper.

Ingredients:

1-8 ounce bar of chocolate

2 cups of chopped pecans

1 bag of pre-wrapped caramels

2 tablespoons of heavy cream

Begin by roasting the chopped pecans for about 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Be careful not to burn them, you want them perfectly toasted! They’ll begin to release their oils and their delicious smell will flow through the kitchen! After the nuts have roasted, separate them in about one and a half-inch circles. If you buy the pre-chopped nuts, you might have to chop them a little bit finer.

In a small saucepan, place all of the unwrapped caramels. Melt them on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once they are almost melted, add in the two tablespoons of heavy cream. Stir to combine. The heavy cream will help the caramel retain its chewy texture. Using a tablespoon, spoon the caramel over the chopped nuts. You’ll want to work slightly quick, so the caramel doesn’t harden up in the pan.

While the caramel is cooling off, begin to melt the chocolate in the microwave using thirty second intervals. Once the chocolate is smooth and shiny, take another spoon and drop little dollops over the caramel. I use the back of the spoon to smooth it out over the top. Before the chocolate hardens, sprinkle flaky salt over the top!

Allow them to sit at room temperature until the caramel and chocolate have hardened!

These little caramel candies are the best movie marathon snack ever! They have the saltiness of the nuts with the sprinkle of sea salt, the chewy bite of the caramel, and the sweet crunch of the chocolate on top. They are the perfect combination!

I hope everyone remains safe inside! I know this is an incredibly hard time for everyone, but let’s try to find the good in each moment of our day! We can all get through this together!

-Holly Michelle

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