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Maple Pecan Caramels Recipe

To Toast Nuts:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Place the pecans or walnuts on a baking sheet and toast the nuts for about 8 minutes, or until lightly brown and fragrant. Cool and then chop coarsely.

Maple Pecan Caramels: Line the bottom and sides of an 8 x 4 inch (20 x 10 cm) rectangular loaf pan with aluminum foil. Lightly butter the foil.

In a heavy 2 1/2 quart (10 cup) saucepan, stir together the brown sugar, cream, milk, maple syrup, butter, and salt. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once the mixture boils, cover, and boil this way for about three minutes. Uncover and clamp a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan. Boil the mixture over medium heat (do not stir) until the temperature reaches 246 degrees F (119 degrees C). (If sugar crystals form on the sides of the pan, wash them down with a heatproof pastry brush that has been dipped in warm water.) Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and chopped nuts.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a small offset spatula or back of a spoon. Leave to cool at room temperature for about an hour or two, or until caramels are firm.

To cut into squares: Lift the caramels from the pan by holding onto the edges of the aluminum foil. Peel pack the foil and, using a sharp knife, (oiled with a tasteless vegetable oil, like safflower) and with a sawing motion, cut into one inch (2.54 cm) squares.

These caramels can be stored at room temperature, between layers of wax paper, for a few days. They can also be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks, or in the freezer for two months.

Makes about 24 - 1 inch (2.54 cm) caramels.

Maple Pecan Caramels:

1/2 cup (50 grams) pecans or walnuts

1 cup (215 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup (60 ml) milk

1/2 cup (120 ml) pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract