You have to love going to a candy shop and scouring the shelves for these delicious toffee, chocolate and pecan treats knowing all to well that they cost a fortune. These will satisfy your cravings without putting a dent in you piggybank. The one thing I do recommend is investing in a good candy thermometer!! Yes, it is a must for the beginners and experts.
To begin these delicious treats, start with the pecans. Measure them out and put them in a bowl.
Pour the the 2 tablespoon of melted butter over the pecans and sprinkle a bit of salt. Put these on a baking sheet to toast in a preheated oven (250F) for about 60 minutes.
While waiting for the pecans to toast. Start the caramel. Add 1/4 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar, 2/3 cup condensed milk, 1/2 cup corn syrup, 6 tablespoons of butter and vanilla to a small saucepan and heat at medium heat.
Heat mixture until it reaches 245F on a candy thermometer. This is the ideal temperature for hard ball caramel. Nice and chewy but not too soft.
When the caramel reaches this temperature, quickly place it in some ice water. This will prevent it from over cooking.
Place the toasted pecans on parchment paper. I put them in a triangle so I could place the caramel in the center.
Melt some chocolate and pipe or scoop them on top of the caramel.
Let them cool (or not) and have them as a treat, for parties or give them away as presents. Its too good to keep so you’ll be making more in no time.
Sweet Georgia Brown’s
Makes 24 small-muffin-sized, or 60 baking sheet sized
1 pound pecan halves
2 T butter, melted
salt to taste
Preheat oven to 250F. In a microwavable bowl, melt butter. Add salt to taste (approximately 1-2 tsp, depending on taste). Add pecans to bowl and stir. Pour onto parchment lined baking sheet and bake in oven for 60 min, or until the nuts become aromatic and golden. Remove from oven and set aside.
1/4 c water
1 c sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2/3 c sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c light corn syrup
6T butter, unsalted, softened
1/2 tsp salt
1. Combine the water, sugar, vanilla bean seeds and pod, condensed milk, corn syrup and butter in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Ensure you cook this over medium heat.
2. Continue stirring while cooking untiul the batch reaches 245F on a candy thermometer.
3. Stir in the salt and remove the pan from the heat, shocking the pan in cold water. Remove the vanilla bean with tongs, and set aside to allow the caramel to cool slightly.
1 lb (1 1/2 c) good quality milk chocolate (I used a Lindt bar), tempered.
* Temper the chocolate when the caramel has set on the pecans (see below).
Tempering chocolate is the process of heating and cooling chocolate to ensure it will set with a proper gloss and desired snap. If chocolate is not tempered, it will take a long time to set and will have gray streaks on the surface and the chocolate will be grainy.
You can temper chocolate by using a water bath, but I prefer the quick and easy microwave method. Basically, all you do is chop up your chocolate, and place 3/4 of it in a microwavable bowl, setting aside the remaining 1/4 chocolate. Microwave the chocolate on high for 30 seconds. Take out of the microwave and stir, heating it again for 30 seconds. Keep stirring and heating in 30 second increments until the chocolate is melted. Remove from the microwave and add the remaining chocolate, mixing it in until it is also melted. This “tempers” the chocolate, as by adding the cold chocolate, it brings the temperature down.
1. On a parchment lined or greased baking sheet or small muffin tin, place the toasted pecans in groups of 5 (baking sheet) or groups of 3 (muffin tin).
2. When the caramel has cooled to a thick, but fluid consistency, spoon a tablespoon (or so) onto each group of pecans to form the body of the “turtle” or “SGB.” Allow the candy to cool completely.
3. Spoon or pipe the tempered chocolate on top of the cooled caramel, leaving some of the pecans exposed, or dip entirely in chocolate. Let cool completely at room temperature.
4. Store in a single layer in an airtight container.
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