Pinterest Fail: Pecan and Salted Caramel Candies

Pecan & Salted Caramel Candies (photo courtesy of King Arthur Flour)
Pecan & Salted Caramel Candies (photo courtesy of King Arthur Flour)

When I originally pinned this lovely “Pecan & Salted Caramel Candies” recipe to my “Cookies, Candies & Gifts in a Jar” Board on Pinterest for future reference, it promised me a “super easy” recipe and a “quick, easy candy” that I thought could be a nice option for holiday treat boxes for neighbors and friends.  With traveling over Christmas and then getting bogged down with the nasty cold bug caught along the way, it was not until the Sunday after Christmas that I felt up to shopping and baking.

In my typical procrastinating fashion, I left the house after dinner and had a couple of other errands to run, ending up at Target’s grocery section at 8:00 p.m., since I was already in the store.  With my two teens’ input and offers to help bake that night, we had decided to make my mom’s easy microwave fudge and date mounds (two of our recurrent classics), and then try this new “Pecan & Salted Caramel Candies” recipe, because Pinterest suggested I could not fail with it.  I opted for the caramel candies, already pre-cut into little squares, and probably should have made one more stop at the large grocery store to see if perhaps they had the “chocolate disks” listed in the recipe; but the evening was already growing late and I had three batches of treats still to make so that I could distribute them the following day on New Year’s Eve!  I settled on semi-sweet chocolate chips when disks could not be found in Target’s grocery aisles, figuring a little cluster of chocolate would work just as well as the disk, when all was said and done.  Melted chocolate is melted chocolate, right?

Now, before we proceed, envision all those lovely cooking blogs with the charming, beautifully arranged ingredients, meticulously arranged background of kitchen accessories, and gourmet shop kitchen tools posed perfectly to illustrate each step of the process.  This is why I do not have a cooking blog — note that the reference to food in my blog’s title is “eat” not “cook.”  The photo speaks for itself:

Pinterest fail: Kitchen prep area
Kat B.’s kitchen prep area

Once I returned home (now 9:00 p.m.), my two teens (who I had made the mistake of earlier referencing as my baking assistants) melted away despite prior offers to help (in their defense, one had skis to wax for the following morning’s workout and the other, well, I still love the other one, too).  The microwave fudge went off without a hitch as it always does, and the date mounds were so tasty that my family’s portion of those treats are gone.  Then, there were the Pecan & Salted Caramel Candies . . . the process started with some promise for a good outcome. I even decided to get the camera out, thinking how nice these could be, just like the recipe!

"Before" Pecan and Salted Caramel Candies
There’s still hope in this “before” photo.

Now, I had softened the caramel squares in order to flatten them into “half-dollar” size circles, but in hindsight, I should have thrown them into a bowl and melted them together, to provide a nice dollop of caramel on top of each “small pile” of pecans.  And, in hindsight, I should have waited for the caramel to have melted somewhat further before placing the chocolate chips on top, because once that step was done, trying to smush the whole darn pile into a cohesive cluster as my patience got the better of me was not a pretty sight.

"After" photo of Pecan and Salted Caramel Candies
No, the cat did not happen to walk through the pan as I was trying to salvage this mess.

[Post update/edit: I showed my husband this blog post and he sees the first photo — the recipe photo — and says “oh, those look really nice.”  I told him, “those aren’t the ones I made, that’s the recipe photo.”  I then scrolled down to the photo just above and said, “this is the photo of my result” — he visibly cringed.]

At some point, after multiple rounds of, “well, maybe just another minute or two will help” in the oven, I said “screw it, I am done” and sprinkled the kosher salt across the candies, surveying the damage.

"Final" Pecan and Salted Caramel Candies
Just ignore the disaster in the background . . .

I probably should have included an apology note in each treat box with this layer of candies, but at midnight, the bar of expectations has been lowered, if not destroyed completely.

Perhaps you will have better luck than me?  Kat B.’s tip — search out those chocolate disks!

Pecan & Salted Caramel Candies

(from King Arthur Flour, link to printable recipe here)

  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 4-ounce block of caramel, cut into 16 pieces; or 16 caramel candies
  • 16 bittersweet chocolate disks (1″ to 1 1/2″ disks)
  • a pinch of Fleur de Sel or other sea salt, to garnish each candy

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Divide the pecans into 16 small piles on a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet (a scant 2 teaspoons pecans each).
  3. Flatten each caramel cube into the size of a half dollar, and place on the pecans.
  4. Heat in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes, until the caramel softens and begins to melt.
  5. Remove from the oven; wait 1 minute, then top each cluster with one disk of chocolate, pressing it into the softened caramel gently.
  6. Top each candy with a few flakes of Fleur de Sel, or other coarse sea salt.
  7. Allow the caramel and chocolate to cool and set before removing candies from the pan.

Yield: 16 candies.

May your new year be filled with travel, garden and eat delights!

Ciao! ~ Kat

29 thoughts on “Pinterest Fail: Pecan and Salted Caramel Candies

  1. It does indeed look like he cat walk over the treats, haha. It’s the intention that counts, right? Happy New Year to you. May your treats come out better in 2013! 🙂

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  2. Love this. When I give these kind of gifts, I remind myself it’s the thought that counts and then I act shocked when they open the package. “Ohmigosh! What happened?” Then they spend a lot of time reassuring me that everything’s fine. Homemade treat passive-aggression 101, my friend.
    Enjoy the day!

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    1. I will have to try that next time! The look on my husband’s face as I scrolled to the photo of my result was priceless. I think our boys ate the ones I had saved for our treat plate so he had never seen the outcome before now. Cheers! ~ Kat

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  3. LOL – Only 16? yikes, that’s a lot of work for something that (in my house) would disappear off the pan before making it into the box… Love your prep area – at least there isn’t an ashtray hiding in there somewhere like in the old days… I used to make 12 tins of an assortment of 12 different kinds of cookies for the Ghost and Miss Z’s teachers until one year I finally calculated how much it actually cost in cash not to mention my time – I discovered the joys of baking banana bread in bulk…

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  4. Kat, I want you to know that your kitchen shot gave me a laugh…my kitchen has been known to look like that on more than one occasion. The chocolates may not have looked like what you envisioned but I bet the taste was great since there aren’t any left.

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  5. I am so very glad that even professionals like you have less than satisfactory outcomes. (That is the code for: what a disaster that was). There is hope for me!!!

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  6. vfrench

    If only my cooking, my home, my gifts, my clothing, etc. could look as good as it does on Pinterest!!! Not a one of us is Martha Stewart and I love it that you post about a botched recipe and a messy kitchen – can’t we all relate!!! But you endeared me forever when you posted that picture last year of moldy food in your fridge. That is like level ten awesome for putting it out there (when we’ve ALL done it!) and being able to laugh about it. And who cares if the pecan and salted caramels weren’t picture perfect? That sure wouldn’t slow me down from eating them (and probably not your teenagers either!) 🙂

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