CHOCOLATE PECAN TURTLE CLUSTERS
I love Turtle Clusters and they are even better when they are homemade!
Prep Time :40 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Yield: about 40 clusters
2 1/2 C pecans
1/2 C butter (I use salted)
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C light corn syrup
7 ounces sweetened condensed milk (1/2 of a 14 ounce can)
1/2 t vanilla
1 (12 ounce) package milk chocolate chips
1/2 t shortening (I use butter flavored Crisco)
HOW TO MAKE:
1-Toss 2 1/2 cups of pecans into a large skillet.
2-Toast them over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until they have darkened just a bit and smell fragrant and wonderful.
3-Should only take a few minutes
4-Find yourself 2 large cookie sheets.
5-Line them with parchment paper and spray it with cooking spray.
6-Arrange your pecans into clusters, three to a group works well. You want to leave some space (about an inch) between each cluster.
7-Make your caramel (full tutorial with pictures found here).
8-Place 1/2 C butter into a medium-sized sauce pan.
9-Melt it over medium high heat. Add 1 C brown sugar, 1/2 C light corn syrup and 7 ounces sweetened condensed milk to the pan.
10-Increase the heat just a bit and stir it continually.
11-Cook and stir until it reaches 235-240 degrees.
12-I generally remove it from the heat when it reaches about 234 degrees.
13-It will continue to rise in temperature just a bit even without the direct heat, making the caramel just the right texture.
14-Stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.
15-Carefully drizzle about 1 1/2 teaspoons of caramel over each nut cluster. You’ll want to work quickly, as the caramel will begin to set up.
16-Be sure there is caramel touching all of the nuts in your cluster.
17-The caramel works like glue, sticking the nuts together.
18-In a microwave safe bowl pour 12 ounces of milk chocolate chips.
19-Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each cooking interval.
20-Add 1/2 teaspoon of shortening to the melted chocolate.
21-Allow it to sit for a minute or two (so it can melt and make the chocolate chips more spreadable). Stir it all together.
22-Spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons of melted chocolate over the top of the caramel and nuts.
23-Swirl it around along the top making a pretty swoop with your spoon.
24-Allow the chocolate to set up.
25-Once it has hardened and cooled you can serve them immediately, or transfer them to an air tight container.
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