I finally started my Christmas baking on Saturday. The list is long, but it's tradition and I love traditions and baking for the holidays is just fun. I made these Chocolate Pecan Caramels that I found in a Taste of Home circa 1999. Gosh, that used to be such a great magazine! Now its new. And improved. And I don't care for it so I let my 25 year subscription expire, but many of our favorite recipes have been gleaned from its pages through the years. This is one of those recipes:
Chocolate Pecan Caramels
1 Tbsp plus 1 C butter (no substitutes), softened, divided
1 1/2 C coarsely chopped pecans
1 C (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
2 C packed brown sugar
1 C light corn syrup
1/4 C water
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
*Line a 9x13" baking pan with foil; butter the foil with 1 Tbsp butter. Sprinkle with pecans and chocolate chips; set aside. In a heavy saucepan, over medium heat. melt remaining butter. Add brown sugar, corn syrup and water. Cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in milk and vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer reads 248° (firm ball stage). Be patient. It'll take a while. :) Pour into prepared pan (do not scrape saucepan). Cool completely before cutting into small squares.
Do not go past 248°:...not even a smidge or your caramels will turn to rocks. And I don't refrigerate mine - we like them at room temperature so they stay a little softer.
Monday is the last cattle sale of the year and all the girls bring goodies and set things out for the buyers. I'm taking queso and chips and probably these although I'll keep some back for us. :)
Fair warning: these are really caramel-ly. In other words, be prepared for your teeth to stick together and you may or may not look like a puppy eating peanut butter, but some things are just worth it. :)