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Chocolate Covered Pecan Caramels

a.k.a.
Turtles

a.k.a.
Pixies

The Finish Line

Why not start where I stopped?

Close up of the third version, the one I was most happy with
Label tag, I gave these as gifts, so I needed tags, right
Version three spread out on parchment paper, one of the things I liked about this version was that the caramels were not evenly covered in chocolate, dipping them resulted in some of the caramel melting off during the process, so pouring chocolate over the caramels was cleaner
One
a
Two
a
Three


The Finished Product

Well, here we are, this is the finished product. Chocolate covered caramels laced with pecans. I was planning on sprinkling them with salt. But I forgot. Fortunately, nobody noticed.

As a trick, I found that pouring the caramel into circles (as apposed lines or a sheet) onto parchment paper worked best. That way I didn't have to cut or handle the cooling caramel, which I found caused it to crystallize.

In my opinion, if there is any key to working with caramel, it's touching it as little as possible (i.e. avoid rolling into balls or cutting).

Ingredients

If there's a magic ratio, I never found it. I used Brown Sugar with a hint of cream, butter, and vanilla.

I like these sort of ingredient pictures, here be a cup of pecans a tablespoon two of butter
cream, pecans, butter, brown sugar, when a recipe calls for sugar, might as well use brown sugur, I say
Easy
or
Hard


Experimentation is Key

I made three batches of caramels.

Version 1Version 2Version 3
½ Cup Brown Sugar½ Cup Brown Sugar½ Cup Brown Sugar
½ Cup Pecans½ Cup Pecans½ Cup Pecans
1 tbsp Butter2 tbsp Butter2 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp Cream4 tbsp Cream2 tbsp Cream
1 tbsp Water
¼ tsp Vanilla½ tsp Vanilla

Now, I'm not the most scientific of chefs. And by and large, the only reason I kept track was so others (the gift receivers) could comment on the mixtures they liked best. But as a general rule (I'm guessing, at least), the more butter and cream, the creamier the caramel.

I mixed the pecans in from the start in the first batch, added them towards the end at the second, and just placed them on top of the poured caramel for the third. I would go with that last method (placing on top of the finished caramel) if I ever do this again.

For the most, I think the difference in flavour/consistency had more to do with the cooking/stirring than the ingredients. But if I had to do it again, I'd lose the water for sure; and likely, follow the proportions from version 2. I say likely, because the truth of the matter is I'll just wing it. Or if I bother to look at this page first, I'll probably split the difference between Version 2 and Version 3.

One thing's for sure, I would try to resist the urge to stir the mixture (not even once, no matter how much it calls out to me for stirring).

Ready! Get Set!

This really is the easy part. I just let it boil on low for about ten minutes.

ingredients in the pot and ready to go, best not to stir it, like, ever
A pull back view, please note the handle of the spoon, placed close enough to the gas flame so it will eventually heat up, do not do this, white ceramic is for water, for the water drop test to tell when it is done
Best
step
Aside


Now we're Cooking with Caramel Chocolate

Along with the caramel, I did three different chocolate glazes. Though, to be honest, what I really did was start a pot of chocolate going and just add more ingredients as I went along. So, here's (approximately) what I did for the chocolate, which just, by-the-by, has nothing to do with images above:

Version 1Version 2Version 3
I placed a bunch of milk-chocolate in a pan, melted it, added a bit of cream and a touch of water.Added a bunch more of the works: chocolate, cream, waterStarted worrying about the cream spoiling and the chocolate melting in transit, so only used water
 
Results
Creamy like FrostingGoey like FudgeHard thin Chocolate

Version 2 won hands down, but wasn't that good on the storage front. Still, who cares? This stuff is a breeze to make, so I can't think of a reason to store it. And as to ratios of cream to chocolate, um, let's see, I started with a fourth of the big (as in huge) bar of chocolate (pound plus), and I used maybe two tablespoons of cream, so that's maybe a half pound or eight ounces of chocolate, divided by two tablespoons of cream, and that gives somewhere between ¼ & ½ tablespoons (tbsp) of Cream per oz. of Milk Chocolate to make the chocolate frosting/glaze. Nothing could be simpler.

Cook It! Cook It Good!

It's Easy Once You Know the Secret. Note to self, resist the urge to stir.

Last four pictures in the pot, sugar and butter melting, I probably already stirred it once by this point, I could not resist, I think it would be best to resist
melting
starting to bubble
it bubbles this way for a while, mine took about ten minutes to cook
Mark!
Get
...
Set!
Go!


Directions

Usually, when I look for a recipe online, I'm just looking for basic ratios. Yeah, great your grandma may have sworn by her ingredient list; but two sites over, and someone else's aunt is swearing by another. Who's right? Um, the one giving me the Free Food. But since she (my grandma and the one who gave me free food) never taught me how to make caramel, I'm pretty much on my own. And so, one grandma's version is as good as the next aunt's.

In other news:
I found making caramel to be painfully easy. So easy, I have no idea why I've never tried this before. Well, OK. I know that last. It's because I thought making caramel was hard. But it's not. It's easy... painfully easy. So easy... and so on.


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