Chocolate Pecan Turtle Clusters
A gourmet classic confection with a combination of tastes and textures and topped with a sprinkling of sea salt.
- candy thermometer
- 3 cups pecans
- 1/2 cup 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 pure vanilla
- 12 ounces 1 package milk chocolate chips
- 1/2 teaspoon shortening
- 3/4 cup coarse sea salt (optional)
- Place pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350°F. for 10 minutes or until they have darkened just a bit and smell fragrant. Let cool. Arrange pecans in groups of 3-4 pecans per cluster on silicone mate or parchment paper. leave some space (about an inch) between each cluster.How to make the caramel.Melt 1/2 cup butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup light corn syrup, and 7 ounces sweetened condensed milk to the pan. Increase the heat just a bit and stir it continually. Cook and stir until it reaches 235-240 °F. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.Carefully drizzle about 1 1/2 teaspoons of caramel over each cluster. You need to work quickly because the caramel will begin to set. Be sure there is caramel touching all of the nuts in your cluster. The caramel works like glue, sticking the nuts together.Using a microwave-safe bowl, melt 12 ounces of milk chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time. Add 1/2 teaspoon of shortening to the melted chocolate. Allow it to sit for 2 minutes and fully combine.Spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons of melted chocolate over the top of the caramel and nuts. Swirl it around along the top making a swoop with your spoon.Allow the chocolate to set. Once it has cooled, you can serve them immediately, or transfer them to an airtight container.