Updated: Dec 20, 2020
My last post got me into a nostalgic mood for some old timey Christmas. Which then got me thinking about home made Christmas candy.
I grew up with my Mom making homemade candies every year, peanut clusters, chocolate covered pretzels, goo goo clusters, you name it. I've always associated a certain set of homemade goodies with the season. After getting on the Trim Healthy Mama plan I found it was a little complicated to get that same experience. While there are low sugar/no-sugar chocolates melting them can be super tricky and the whole don't mix carbs and fat thing makes it hard to deal with just about every one of Mom's traditional candies.
But then I ran into a recipe for the pay-off day candies in the THM cookbook. Now that recipe was pretty good if you like to mix caramel with your peanut butter. But my all time favorite is pecans and just subbing whole pecans in for the whole peanuts didn't sit right with me.
The other thing is, while I appreciate the detail that goes into these cook books, I don't cook that often. Pretty much baking with a lot of ingredients and detailed measures steals the joy of making a tasty treat. I'm more of a "big picture" guy and tend to stick to throwing large slabs of meat on a grill. So if I'm going to actually cook, I'm going to COOK. That means the portions better be pretty big so that whatever I make can be frozen and last another 6 months, because I'm not likely to bake again any time soon. So with my eye set on a perfect caramel pecan treat I got out my abacus and a slide rule to scale up to the portions I wanted to make. Here's what I came up with to make a man sized batch of candy.
Trim Healthy Pecan Squares
2 Sticks of Butter
1 Cup of Heavy Cream
3/4 Cup of THM Gentle Sweet
1-2 Cups of Pecans
12" or bigger sauce pan
Silicone forms or a greased glass baking pan. Smaller pan makes taller squares.
Place skillet on a burner
Turn on your burner to medium hot, like 7 or 8 of 10.
Unwrap the two sticks of butter and put them in the pan and let them sit until melted.
Add the 1 Cup of Heavy cream and 3/4 Cup of Gentle Sweet
Whisk until the mixture is smooth and even, about the consistency of honey mustard sauce
At first it will be a slightly yellow white color and just sit in the pan. Eventually it will start to bubble.
Stir with the whisk occasionally to cut down on the bubbles and watch the color to turn more and more caramel colored.
Once it gets to this color reduce the heat to Low like 2-3 on a 10 scale.
Keep stirring until the bubbles go away.
Add 1 Cup of pecans and stir. You can add more pecans if you like more nuts in your candy than candy.
Then pour the liquid into silicone forms to make particular shapes, like the one in my picture, or just pour into a greased glass pan and cut squares out of it once it's had time to cool.
I don't know exactly how shelf stable these are. I usually package them up into containers of a limited quantity and freeze them.
Note this container was full yesterday and I only had one piece. If you're family is like mine you may need to hide them!