Indulge your taste buds in the perfect symphony of flavors with these delectable Chocolate Pecan Clusters. A harmonious blend of crunchy pecans, rich caramel, and velvety chocolate, this recipe promises a heavenly treat for your senses. Each bite is a delightful dance of textures and tastes, making it an irresistible choice for any sweet tooth.
The journey to these heavenly clusters begins with toasting 2 1/2 cups of pecans, releasing their nutty aroma and enhancing their flavor. The pecans are then carefully arranged into clusters on parchment-lined sheets, creating a perfect canvas for the layers of decadence that follow. The star of the show is the luscious caramel, a concoction of salted butter, brown sugar, light corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk. Melted to perfection, this caramel bathes each nut cluster, creating a gooey and sweet foundation. The addition of vanilla adds a subtle yet essential note, elevating the caramel to a new level of indulgence.
But the indulgence doesn’t stop there. Enter the stage, creamy milk chocolate chips, melted to a silky smooth consistency. With a touch of butter-flavored shortening, the chocolate becomes a luxurious cloak for the caramel-coated pecans. Each cluster is generously adorned with a drizzle of this decadent chocolate, creating an intricate and visually pleasing pattern.
Allowing time for the chocolate to set transforms these clusters into bite-sized masterpieces. The hardened chocolate shell encapsulates the medley of flavors within, creating a delightful contrast of textures. Whether served immediately or stored in an airtight container for later enjoyment, these Chocolate Pecan Clusters are bound to steal the spotlight at any gathering. Elevate your dessert game with this irresistible treat that combines the warmth of toasted pecans, the sweetness of caramel, and the silkiness of chocolate into a symphony of flavors that will leave you craving for more.
– 2 1/2 cups pecans
– 1/2 cup salted butter
– 1 cup brown sugar
– 1/2 cup light corn syrup
– 7 ounces sweetened condensed milk (1/2 of a 14-ounce can)
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
– 1 (12-ounce) package milk chocolate chips
– 1/2 teaspoon shortening (butter-flavored Crisco)
1. Toast 2 1/2 cups of pecans in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until they darken slightly and emit a fragrant aroma. This should take only a few minutes.
2. Prepare two large cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper and spraying it with cooking spray. Arrange the toasted pecans into clusters, with three nuts in each group, leaving about an inch of space between each cluster.
3. In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 1/2 cup of butter. Add 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup light corn syrup, and 7 ounces of sweetened condensed milk. Increase the heat slightly and stir continuously. Cook until the mixture reaches 235-240 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat around 234 degrees, as it will continue to rise in temperature off the heat, achieving the desired caramel texture.
4. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.
5. Quickly drizzle about 1 1/2 teaspoons of caramel over each nut cluster. Work swiftly as the caramel sets up. Ensure that caramel touches all the nuts to act as a binding agent.
6. In a microwave-safe bowl, place 12 ounces of milk chocolate chips. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until melted.
7. Add 1/2 teaspoon of shortening to the melted chocolate, allowing it to sit for a minute to melt and make the chocolate more spreadable. Stir until well combined.
8. Spoon approximately 1 1/2 teaspoons of melted chocolate over each caramel and nut cluster. Swirl it around the top, creating a decorative pattern with your spoon.
9. Allow the chocolate to set up and harden. Once cooled and hardened, you can serve the clusters immediately or transfer them to an airtight container.