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Pecan Clusters

Chewy caramel, toasted pecans, bittersweet chocolate -- you'd be hard-pressed to find a store-bought version that's as superlative as this easy homemade rendition. Did we mention the rum?

  • Yield: Makes about 24 Clusters
Pecan Clusters

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2008


  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 9 ounces pecan halves, toasted (2 1/4 cups)
  • 2 1/2 ounces (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dark rum
  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted


  1. Bring 1 1/2 cups sugar, the milk, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat (mixture may look separated).

  2. Bring water and remaining 3/4 cup sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Wash sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Cook, undisturbed, until sugar begins to turn light gold, about 5 minutes. Swirl pan, then cook until caramel turns amber, about 2 minutes. Immediately remove pan from heat. Carefully stir in milk mixture (liquid may bubble up), then pecans. Place pan over medium heat, and cook, stirring often, until caramel registers 242 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 7 minutes.

  3. Remove pan from heat, and stir in butter, vanilla, and rum. Continue stirring until caramel cools and becomes very thick and difficult to stir, about 10 minutes. Drop small mounds of caramel onto a baking sheet lined with a nonstick baking mat, and let cool.

  4. Place melted chocolate in a medium bowl. Using an offset spatula, dip bottom of each pecan cluster into chocolate, leaving top partially undipped. Place dipped pecan clusters on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and let stand until chocolate is set. Pecan clusters will keep, covered, for up to 5 days.

Cook's Note

Get the packaging how-to for the Pecan Clusters.

Reviews (10)

  • laylaparast 10 Feb, 2011

    I made these and they taste delicious but as someone else said, they were kind of grainy. They are more fudge-like than chewy caramel so I am calling them caramel pecan fudge clusters so people expect that fudge graininess when they bite into them. I looked at this persons recipe ( to see if she did anything differently - she only used 1/4 cup of milk so maybe I will try that next time.

  • Sheryll 31 Dec, 2010

    Sounds too difficult for me. I am not a candy maker or baker in the least way.

  • ravel07 21 Dec, 2008

    Also, the recipe doesn't called for tempered chocolate, but if you don't temper it, the chocolate will never set.

  • ravel07 21 Dec, 2008

    This recipe is not "easy" by any means. My caramel failed twice. The first time, it crystallized and became a fudge-like substance. The second time, it had the desired texture, but it never set and stayed sticky. I had to put it in the freezer to be able to dip it in the chocolate. Then, when I did, the caramel melted and blended with the chocolate. I would advise everyone against trying to make this recipe.

  • nyregina 20 Dec, 2008

    do you need the rum? bc i don't have any...

  • Sissy62 19 Dec, 2008

    I made them, they tasted great, but the carmel was grainy, any suggestions?

  • Sissy62 19 Dec, 2008

    I made them, they tasted great, but the carmel was grainy, any suggestions?

  • Manigirl 15 Dec, 2008


  • tonijean 13 Dec, 2008

    you are making the carmel, with the sugar, then the vanilla, butter and rum.

  • fbilas 11 Dec, 2008


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