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Maple Pecan Caramels

To Toast Pecans: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Place the pecans on a baking sheet and toast the nuts for about 6-8 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) loaf pan with foil. Lightly butter the foil.

In a heavy bottomed 2 1/2 quart (10 cup) (2.5 liter) saucepan, stir together the brown sugar, cream, maple syrup, corn syrup, and salt. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring just to a boil, stirring constantly. Once the mixture boils, cover, and boil this way for about 1-2 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 248 degrees F (120 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 butter, vanilla extract and chopped nuts.

Carefully 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 cut into one inch (2.5 cm) squares.

These caramels can be stored at room temperature, between layers of wax paper, for a few days. But I like to store them in the refrigerator (for up to two weeks). Or you can freeze them for about two months.

Makes about 32 caramels.

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Maple Pecan Caramels:

1/2 cup (50 grams) pecans (can use walnuts)

1 cup (210 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup (180 ml) (175 grams) heavy whipping cream (cream with 35-40% butterfat content)

1/2 cup (120 ml) (160 grams) pure maple syrup (I use Grade A Dark Amber)

1/4 cup (60 ml) (95 grams) light corn syrup (or golden syrup)

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) salt

2 tablespoons (25 grams) butter, cut into small pieces

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract