Sunday, October 6, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Candy

I have been thinking about getting a chocolate tempering machine.  They are great for preparing chocolate for dipping cookies into or drizzling on baked goods that need that extra touch.  However, it is one of those gadgets that you wonder if you will ever get enough use to justify the cost.

The recipe here does not require any fancy equipment, but it does deliver a lot of delicious flavor. A mix of different chips melted together makes up the bottom and top layers.  Then the filling in between is a nutty layer of nougat and a layer of caramel.  Consider this to be a homemade version of the famous Snickers bars.  The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for it to chill before eating!

Chocolate Caramel Candy
adapted from Taste of Home

Ingredients/ Bottom layer
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
2 tsp butter

1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups marshmallow cream
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups chopped salted peanuts

Ingredients/Caramel Layer
14 oz pkg of caramels
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Ingredients/ Icing
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Prepare a 9x13 size cake pan by lining with foil.  Then melt the 2 tsp of butter and use it the coat the interior of the pan.  Set aside and start making the layers.

For the bottom layer,  fill a saucepan with both types of chips and peanut butter. Place the saucepan over low heat.  Stir constantly until mixture is melted. Then spoon into prepared pan, smoothing out the top so it is even.  Place the pan in the fridge to chill for abut 30 minutes or longer.  This layer needs to set up firmly.

To make the filling, place butter in a small saucepan over medium temperature.  Once the butter is melted, add sugar and milk and let come to a gentle boil. Turn the heat to medium low and stir.  Let the mixture cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat and add marshmallow cream, peanut butter and vanilla and mix until smooth.  Fold in the salted nuts.  Remove the pan from the fridge and spoon this filling over the top of the first layer.  Smooth out the top and place pan back in the fridge, allowing for at least 30 minutes for the the layer to set up.

Unwrap all the caramels and drop them into a small saucepan.  Then add the cream and place saucepan over medium heat for about 4 minutes, stirring until all the caramels are melted and mixed in with the cream.  Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.  Take out the pan from the fridge and spread the caramel layer over the filling, making sure all areas are covered evenly and the surface is smooth. Place pan back in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

For the top layer,  melt peanut butter in a saucepan over low heat. When completely melted, add milk chocolate chips and butterscotch chips.  Keep stirring until it is smooth and all chips are totally melted.  Pour mixture over the last layer and smooth it out on top.  Place pan in fridge for a minimum of 4 hours.  It will also be fine if left in the fridge overnight.

After the chilling stage, let sit at room temperature 20 minutes.  Pull candy out of pan by lifting up the foil liner.  Invert the candy slab and peel off all the foil.  Invert again and place on cutting board and cut into one inch squares.

1. These are better left frozen until served.  Room temperature turns these into a mess of sticky chocolate and stringy caramel.
                                **LAST YEAR:Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Bread Pudding**