December 8, 2011

Cookie Week: Salted Chocolate Caramel Clusters

**A little tip: Try spraying some parchment paper with Pam before you place the clusters down. Also, make sure they are completely cool before you lift them up!

This recipe is from Dina who is the phenomenal blogger behind Honey + Fitz!


What is it about the holidays that makes even the simplest tasks seems daunting?  I love to bake but around the holidays there just never seems to be enough time!  This recipe is a favorite of mine because it involves ZERO baking or mixing. Even the measuring is minimal and the result is still a yummy, sweet treat.  Throw together some cute packaging and you are ready for a cookie swap! 


Salted Chocolate Caramel Clusters




Ingredients:
MAKES 20 - 24 CLUSTERS


8 oz of pecan halves, toasted
14 oz package of caramel candies, unwrapped
1 tablespoon of  milk
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
12 oz package of dark chocolate pieces
2 ounces of white chocolate, chopped
Fleur de Sel


1.  Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Arrange pecans in a cluster of 5-6 halves


2.  In a small saucepan combine caramels, milk and vanilla.  Heat and stir over medium heat until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth.  Don't let them burn!  Spoon caramel over each cluster of pecans.  Return saucepan to heat periodically if your mixture starts to harden before you've finished all your clusters.  Let stand for about 30 minutes or until firm.



 



3.  In a medium saucepan heat and melt dark chocolate pieces over low heat until chocolate is melted and smooth.  Set aside about 1/4 cup of melted chocolate in a resealable plastic bag.  Spoon remaining chocolate over clusters and gently spread to the edge.  Let stand for about 30 minutes or until firm.


 


 

4.  Meanwhile, chop white chocolate into small pieces and melt in microwave uncovered for about 1 minute, stirring every 20 seconds.  Spread white chocolate over tops of clusters.


 
 
5.  Microwave the plastic bag you reserved the dark chocolate mixture in for 20 seconds.  Snip a tiny bit off one corner and drizzle over the top of each cluster.




6.  Finish by sprinkling fleur de sel over each while drizzled chocolate is still soft. 






They are so yummy and rich and EASY!  And they look great packaged up.






I like to package mine in these great glossy boxes from the Container Store. 

Line the inside with some tissue paper and then place a layer of cellophane down.  These pecan clusters are super rich for a half dozen is plenty for a nice gift!

I am sort of nuts about making yarn pom poms.  It's the easiest, most mindless task and you can whip up a dozen of them while watching tv.  I use this little kit.  One great big pom pom makes this gift look extra special. 

Who wouldn't want to open that? Especially with this yumminess inside!

18 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness those look amazing!!! By the way I love your blog!!! I am trying to create one myself and you defiantly inspire me!!

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  2. Yummmmm, I am so inviting you over for Christmas ;-)
    Esther.

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  3. Thanks ladies! Glad you're liking the recipe. It is SUPER easy, I promise :)

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  4. those look so good!! I may just have to make some this weekend!! =)

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  5. Ok - maybe this is a rookie question, but I tried to make these as the recipe suggested, on top of wax paper, and now they are all stuck to the paper because of the caramel. Any ideas for how I can get them un-stuck and into the pretty boxes I bought would be much appreciated :) Thanks!

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  6. I made these, they are sooooo good, the only thing is the carmel got stuck to the parchment paper and I could not get the clusters off without the parchment stuck to it?? I had to heat up a baking sheet put the parchment paper with the turtles stuck to them on the warm baking sheet to heat up the carmel to peel them off, then I put them on freezer paper which worked a whole lot better, NOW I KNOW FOR NEXT TIME!!! They are so delicious though I will definetly make them again!!! THank You!!

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  7. DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT put these on wax paper! I hope others read these comments before making--wish I had. Just finished these and they were completely stuck to the wax paper. Had to warm up the pan as the other comment suggested, then scape them off and onto no stick reynolds wrap to cool again. It was a complete mess! These are for teacher gifts, so they may taste good but do not look pretty as they became huge nut and caramel blobs :( Wish the lady that posted this recipe would tell how she gets them unstuck. I also tried putting them in the freezer, then they just peeled off with the wax paper attached.

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  8. Hi Ladies! This is my recipe and I'm so sorry many of you are having trouble. Whatever you use - wax paper or parchment paper, spray it with Pam before you start and your clusters should come right off when they are COMPLETELY cool. I really hope this helps. This is the technique I used and it worked fine.

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  9. Hey, This recipe just looks (and i bet taste) AMAZING. I just had one question though : How long do you think we can keep them ? (as long as they aren't ALL eaten right away). Thanks, Lina

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  10. Any suggestions on a homemade caramel? The caramels at the store near me are horrible in flavor. I have a favorite caramel sauce but it is a liquid and does not harden (sugar, water, vanilla, cream,salt).

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  11. Can't wait to make these.. Great for kids to make as gifts! Thanks for sharing!!

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  12. Can these be frozen? IF so, how long? I am thinking ahead for holiday seasons. Thanks!

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  13. When you put chocolate in the freezer, it loses it's glossy finish. I don't recommend it for gift giving. If you're making them for yourself and you don't care that the chocolate is dull, go for it.

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  14. What is Fleur de Sel & where can I find it? Cant wait to make these. :))) Thanks!

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  15. This look great and thanks for sharing, was wondering if the caramel sets again or does it go runny? Tx

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  16. Next time I make these I will be adding more milk to the caramels (maybe 1/4 C?) because the caramel was too stiff & chewy (I used Brach's milk caramels by the way). The flavor of these was amazing though & even though it required quite a bit of chewing to finish up the candy, it was worth trying again. I used kosher salt instead of fleur de sel because I couldn't find it anywhere.

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