Turtle Clusters

These are wonderfully gooey, lush candies, and they couldn’t be any easier. Make these from scratch, or use the excess caramel and chocolate from Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Candies.

makes about 32 candies

12 individually-wrapped caramels, unwrapped
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening
1/4 teaspoon glycerin (Glycerin is available at drugstores and grocery stores, on the medicine aisle. Also available from Wilton. It makes the chocolate glossier.
2 cups pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pecans evenly over a cookie sheet and toast for 10 – 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Line 2 cookie sheets with nonstick parchment paper or waxed paper lightly sprayed with Pam. Set aside. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine caramels, sweetened condensed milk, and butter. Microwave 1 minute, stir, microwave another minute, then continue to stir until caramels have melted completely.

Drop 3 pecans at a time into bowl of caramel, then scoop them out with a spoon. Drop pecan-caramel clump onto parchment or waxed paper. Pecans needn’t be completely coated. Repeat with remaining pecans. If your pecans are runty, use 4 or 5 at a time instead of 3. Freeze trays for an hour or two. Leave second tray in freezer while coating first tray.

Melt chocolate, shortening, and glycerin in a double boiler.

Remove first tray from freezer and quickly pull all of the caramel-nut clumps off of the paper while they’re still solid. As they thaw, they get sticky fast. Line cookie sheet with fresh waxed, sprayed or parchment paper.

Working quickly to keep caramel from getting sticky, drop a caramel into the chocolate, stir a few times to coat, then fish it out with a spoon and drop in onto the fresh paper. Repeat with remaining candies. If you like, top each candy with a pecan piece to mark it (especially helpful if you’re making several different candies). Let set for several hours. The chocolate will set up, but the caramel will say gooey.



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