Friday, March 12, 2010

Candies > Pecan Maple Caramel

Determined to make a self contained turtle candy for my wife, I first made these pecan maple caramels in 2006 and they actually competed with my English Toffee for favorite candy that I make. Caramels are actually pretty easy to make, and dipping these caramels in chocolate will yield about 100 self-contained pecan caramel turtles. The maple syrup in this recipe is subtle. After the repeated failures making maple pecan caramels I was happy just to have any maple flavor. You can omit the maple syrup without need to change the recipe—I made this recipe twice, adding the maple syrup only on the second batch.

3 cups chopped raw pecans
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
2 cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Some Safflower oil. Oil the foil lined baking dish (alternative: line dish with silpat).

Using safflower oil and a paper towel, generously oil a 9x13 baking dish lined with foil. Don't skimp! If using silpat, just make sure the silpat you are using is large enough so that caramel won't leak out. Try to push the silpat down along th edges to simlate lining pan with foil. Chop the pecans into morsel sized chunks.
Using a chef's knife, chop the pecans on a cutting board until they are the size of chocolate morsels. You can use a food processor, but since you are only coarsely chopping the pecans it isn't necessary and produces pecan dust which you don't need and would have to sift out. Combine sugars, corn and maple syrups, cream and butter and bring to boil.

Combine the sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup, cream and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until it comes to a boil. Wash down sides several times with water using a pastry brush. Once boiling, increase heat to medium high and stir constantly until it reaches target temperature.
With the heat increased to medium high, stir the mixture continuously until it reaches 239-240° F (116°) for dipping or else 242-243° F (117° C) for wrapping.. Remove from heat and add salt and vanilla. Then add pecans and stir.

After removing the caramel from heat, add the salt and vanilla and stir until blended. Add the pecans and give another stir to thoroughly mix. Pour into oiled or silpat lined baking dish. Let sit overnight wrapped tightly.
Pour mixture into prepared baking pan. Cover well and let cool overnight. Once you are ready to dip or wrap, peel the foil off the caramel. This can be a major pain, particularly for gooier caramels (dipping), but I recently found that shoving a silpat sheet into a baking pan solves the problem. Oil a large plastic cutting board and place the caramel slab there. Slice into pieces and wrap or dip. Dip or wrap as desired.

I typically prefer to make my dipped caramels more gooey than the wrapped caramels, but note that softer caramels are more difficult to work with and dip. Even firm caramels will succumb to gravity and sag after a few minutes, but he pecans in these caramels seem to delay sagging a bit. When dipping, slice only as much as you need from the main block to maintain rectangular shapes. Gallery: Click any image below to enlarge Ingredients for Pecan Maple Caramels (maple syrup missing from photo).

Use a chef's knife to chop the pecans. Coarsely chopped pecans. Combine the sugars, syrups and cream and bring to a boil. Boil caramel mixture until it reaches target temperature. Remove from heat and stir in salt. Stir in vanilla after removing from heat. Pour in chopped pecans after stirring in salt and vanilla. Stir in pecans and pour into prepared baking dish. Use a wooden spoon to spread out caramel evenly. If using foil lined baking dish, it may take some time to peel all foil from cooled caramel. Caramel practically falls out of silpat lined baking dish. Oil a large knife with safflower oil before cutting caramel. Slice caramel with oiled knife. Caramel tends to sag over time so cut a few strips at a time. Drop caramel into tempered chocolate. Dipped pecan maple caramels ready for decorating.

For decorating with tempered chocolate, simply snip the corner off a plastic bag and begin piping. Dipped caramels can be decorated quickly with milk chocolate stripes. Entire trays of chocolate can be decorated at once using stripes. Simple stripes of contrasting chocolate makes the candy look as good as it tastes. Pecan Maple Caramels. Caramels can be wrapped in wax paper if you prefer not to dip in chocolate.

http://www.chocolategourmand.com/recipes/candies/pecan_maple_caramel.cfm

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