In case you were wondering where I’ve been lately, let me explain: growing a baby is a lot of work. Prepping for a baby’s impending arrival is even more work including rearranging the house, painting furniture, buying the necessities, and cramming in as much fun as possible before sleep deprivation begins! Add to that a 30+ person surprise birthday party for my husband and preparing students for finals and, well… you get the drift. I dropped off the planet for a while, but now that I am on summer break I have some amazing recipes up my sleeve to share with you.
You are going to love these treats! Well, that is, you will if you love caramel and chocolate and pecans . If you hate any of these ingredients, you may want to skip this particular recipe as there is no avoiding the onslaught of caramel-y, nutty goodness that these babies contain. I made these for my students as a bribe to “please remember me for something other than just forcing you to practice trig equations”. I know I’m their math tutor, but maybe, just maybe, they’ll look back on their time with me with fond memories that include cookies, kittens, and great laughs. If not, they can always remember the excellent grade they got in the class and how excited they were about that.
I call these cheater turtles because they’re everything that those famous goodies are known for without the hassle of arranging pecan pieces just-so. They come together in no time at all and are perfect for kids and adults alike.
Don’t skip the sea salt on top. It’s what really makes these treats pop!
- Grease a baking sheet lightly with oil and set aside. Set out a large spoon.
- Make the caramel sauce: In a medium saucepan, cook the butter, brown sugar, and honey over medium heat, stirring often, until the butter and sugar melt. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for exactly 2 1/2 minutes, stirring constantly. Be sure to stir all around the edges of the pan to prevent burning. Remove from the heat and stir in the pecans, stirring to coat them with caramel, then immediately use a large spoon to drop heaping tablespoons of the mixture 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Let cool completely. (As soon as the clusters are cool, they will slide easily off the oiled baking sheet.)
- Make the chocolate coating: Put the chocolate and oil in a heatproof container on the top of a double boiler and place it over, but not touching a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the water and let cool until slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.*
- Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the chocolate coating over the top of each cookie (use all the chocolate coating) so that some chocolate drizzles down the sides. The clusters should not be completely covered with chocolate (although I completely covered mine because I LOVE chocolate!). Sprinkle with fleur de sel sea salt. Let the cookie clusters sit at room temperature until the chocolate coating is firm, about 1 hour. Or, to speed the firming of the chocolate, refrigerate the cookies for about 20 minutes.
- The cookies can be stored covered in a single layer in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature. The cookies will become firm and brittle when cold but soften when brought back to room temperature.
- *Feeling ambitious? Temper the chocolate so that you can leave the cookies out at room temperature without the fat solids separating from the chocolate. You can read more about tempering chocolate here: http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2010/03/how-to-temper-chocolate.html