Monday, December 10, 2012

Homemade Chocolate Pecan Caramels ~ A Favorite Christmas Recipe {List of Ten}


Caution: The following recipe is quite unhealthy and highly addictive. Proceed at your own risk. J
I tucked the last wooden Pilgrim in the storage tub to nap until next fall. Barely had I clicked the lid in place when I heard, “Mommy, when are we going to make caramels?”

I draped the poinsettia garland along the top of the armoire and set the jar candle in its’ place. “Mommy, when are we going to make caramels?”

I gently nestled the ceramic house in the row of the village, setting the caroling mother and son just outside the church. “Mommy, when are we going to make caramels?”

Can you tell it’s a family favorite?

Candy making can be intimidating. But I’ve found that, as long as you keep your eye on the ball (whether it be soft or firm ball J), making candy can be a terrific Christmas tradition.

Ingredients:


  1. 1 tablespoon plus 1 cup butter, softened, divided
  2. 1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
  3. 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (more if you’re a chocoholic!)
  4. 2 cups packed brown sugar
  5. 1 cup light corn syrup
  6. ¼ cup water
  7. 1can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  8. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  9. Patience – it can take 30 minutes to get to firm ball stage!
  10. Togetherness – get those children or siblings or friends involved in a candy-making party! One butters the pan. One chops pecans. A third and a fourth take turns stirring.


Directions:


Butter a 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan with the 1 tablespoon butter. If you prefer, you can line the pan with foil and then butter the foil, but I’ve never had a problem with sticking. 
Sprinkle the pan with the pecans and chocolate chips, then set it aside. If you’re not nutty, pecans are optional!
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining butter. Add brown sugar, corn syrup, and water. Cook and stir until the mixture becomes a boil.
Stir in the milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer reads 248F (firm ball stage). Be careful here! If you go over 248F, the caramels will be too hard, impossible to get out of the pan and breaking your teeth. Don’t get distracted by talking on the phone or reading a book while you stir. Don’t ask me how I know ~ just trust me.
Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour into the prepared 9x13, but do not scrape the saucepan.
Let it cool completely before cutting.

Enjoy the togetherness, and bon app├ętit!







Do you make candy for the holidays? What’s your favorite?




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14 comments:

  1. Yummy! I can't wait to try this recipe with my kids.

    We just made peppermint bark last week and hope to make chocolate peanut butter balls and chocolate dipped pretzels this week! I love Christmas time because of the yummy candies we make and, of course, eat.

    Thanks for sharing your recipe!

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    Replies
    1. Buckeyes are another candy my children ask for incessantly as soon as Thanksgiving is over. I agree completely, Keri -- another reason to love Christmas time!

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  2. These look yummy, Meghan. And I like your new blog design too. Bless you.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Gail. Many Christmas blessings to you!

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  3. I just added them to my Pinterest selection of Christmas ideas for baking :-) Thank you Meghan. Blessings to you during Christmas and thanks for linking up.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Judith. Have a wonderful Christmas!

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  4. Hello, new follower here and I’d like to invite you to join me at my weekly Clever Chicks Blog Hop: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/12/Clever-Chicks-Blog-Hop-12.html



    I hope you can make it!

    Cheers,

    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looks delicious! I love a good chewy piece of sweetness!
    Thanks for linking up to the party!
    Stacey of Embracing Change

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melts in your mouth! Thanks, Stacey, and have a wonderful Christmas!

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  6. Those look delicious! I love pecans and caramel. It is a classic combination. Thanks for sharing at Mom's Library!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's like a Fannie Mae Turtle -- yummo! Thanks, Janine, for the link-up!

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  7. Thank you so much for posting this recipe Meghan...I fell in love with these at the Ladies Christmas Party and have been thinking about them since. Can't wait to make them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They were a little soft there, Jen. I was afraid of getting them too hard, so you can see that the temperature is the most important part. Hope you enjoy them, and don't eat the whole pan yourself! :)

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