Pecan Caramels
Prep time
Total time
These chocolate dipped pecan caramels are rich and buttery with a chewy soft texture. Caramels don’t get much better than this. These caramels are yummy plain, and outstanding when dipped in chocolate.
Recipe type: Dessert | Candy | Caramel | Chocolate
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whipping (heavy) cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups (10 ounces) coarsely chopped pecans (¼ to ½ inch pieces)
Chocolate Coating:
  • 4 ounces semisweet or, bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons shortening (optional, not used if tempering chocolate)
Prepare one 9x13 inch oblong pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, allowing overhang on all sides. Tip: rub a bit of vegetable shortening or butter in the bottom of the pan corners and well as the pan sides to help the parchment paper to stay in place. Lightly grease the top of the parchment paper. Place the pan on a wire rack to protect your countertop from the hot caramel.
  1. In a large, at least 4 quart-size, heavy-bottomed pan, combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the butter is melted. Stir in the whipping cream. Stir gently to avoid splashing the mixture onto the sides of the pan. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, stirring frequently and scraping the pan bottom to avoid scorching, until the mixture reaches a temperature of 247 degrees F, a firm ball stage, using a candy or instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature. Immediately remove pan from the heat. Tip: Lower the heat when the temperature reaches about 240 degrees to slow the cooking because at this point it will quickly reach 247 degrees.
  2. Let the hot mixture sit about 30 seconds to let the bubbling subside. Working carefully to prevent splattering, add the vanilla and pecans and stir just until mixed.
  3. Carefully pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread it evenly with the rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Do not scrape out the pan as separated ingredients will mar the top of the caramel. Be careful, the caramel is extremely hot and will burn your skin if you touch it.
  4. Let the caramel sit undisturbed until cool and thoroughly set, 6 to 8 hours or overnight.
  5. When caramel is firm, remove from the pan by grabbing the edge of the parchment paper and lifting out of the pan. Use a sharp kitchen knife or bench scraper to cut into 1-inch pieces. Tip: Rub a tiny bit of vegetable oil or vegetable shortening on the knife blade if necessary to prevent sticking.
Chocolate Coating:
Tip: It is always preferable to temper chocolate when the chocolate is used for dipping candies. In place of step 9 below, See Tempering Chocolate for information about how to temper the chocolate to be used for dipping these candies. If you don’t want to go through the steps of tempering the chocolate, the following directions are for melting chocolate (not tempering.)
  1. Refrigerate caramels until cool, about 30 minutes.
  2. Line 2 large baking pans or jelly roll pans with parchment paper or waxed paper.
  3. In top of a double boiler over hot water, melt chocolate. Or, melt chocolate in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat; stir constantly until melted so chocolate does not burn. Remove pan from heat. Or, place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, use 50% power and stir frequently just until the chocolate is melted; do not overheat as chocolate will burn easily. Stir in the shortening. Set aside to cool. Tip: Create a double boiler by filling a saucepan with 2 inches of water and bringing it to a simmer. Turn the heat off and place a glass bowl, stainless steel bowl, or ceramic bowl on top of the hot water; the upper pan should not touch the water.
  4. Place the cooled bowl of chocolate over a pan of hot water to keep the chocolate a liquid consistency for dipping. Work with 6 to 8 caramels at a time, keeping the remaining caramels refrigerated until ready to dip.
  1. Holding the top of a caramel with your fingers, dip the bottom half of each caramel into the melted chocolate; allow any excess chocolate to drip back into the pan. Place caramels on baking pans, chocolate side down; let sit until the chocolate is set. Tip: refrigerate chocolate coated caramels about 30 minutes for the chocolate to become firm. Makes about nine dozen caramels.
Recipe Adapted From: Baggett, Nancy, The All-American Dessert Book, Houghton Mifflin Co, New York, 2005
Recipe Notes
Equipment: Small Heavy-Bottomed Saucepan, Double Boiler, Candy Thermometer Method: Stovetop Pan: Large Rimmed Baking Sheets Pan Prep: Parchment Lined Yield: 9 Dozen Pieces Storage: Airtight Container, Room Temperature

Help: Chocolate Types, Melting Chocolate, Tempering Chocolate, Sugar and Caramel Stages

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