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Caramel-Dipped Pecans

Use these nuts to decorate a chocolate or caramel tart.

  • Yield: Makes 24

Source: Martha Stewart Living, February 2002

Ingredients

  • 24 pecan halves
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions

  1. Gently insert an 8-inch wooden skewer into each pecan. Set aside.

  2. Prepare an ice bath, and set aside. Combine the sugar, water, and cream of tartar in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Wash down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Cook, without stirring, until the mixture begins to brown. Gently swirl the pan to color evenly. Remove from heat when caramel is a rich amber color, and place pan in ice bath for 5 seconds to stop the cooking.

  3. Allow caramel to sit, until slightly thickened, for about 15 minutes. (To test: Dip a wooden spoon into the caramel, and lift it several inches over the pan; if a drip slowly forms and then hardens, the caramel is ready.) When caramel is ready, dip pecans, lifting up and swirling slightly to fully coat. Hold skewer over the pan to allow the drip to lengthen and slightly harden, about 1 minute. If necessary, use a pair of scissors to cut the drip from the caramel remaining in the pan. Place skewers on an inverted baking sheet lined with waxed paper, and allow the caramel to completely harden, about 5 minutes. If desired, stand skewers upright in flower foam or a heavy container until ready to serve. Gently remove skewers before serving.

Cook's Notes

To produce interesting curves in the caramel drops, stand the skewers upright in flower foam or a heavy container while setting. If caramel hardens before all pecans have been dipped, rewarm it over low heat. A foolproof way to clean caramel from the pan is to bring it to a boil with a bit of added water.

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