Dark Chocolate

Coffee Caramels with Pecans and Dark Chocolate (Cubed Coffee Turtles)

March  9, 2015
Author Notes

I'm a real dark chocolate girl, so, since no one is making these commercially, I knew I had to make them for myself. Hope you'll try and like them!
* It takes me 45 minutes to make a batch, after my ingredients have been gathered. This does not include the optional chocolate chopping /melting /coating, which only takes a few minutes.
As a cardamom lover, I recently have riffed on this recipe, making Cardamom Pistachio Caramels w/ 1 T. espresso powder and 2 1/2 T.freshly ground cardamom seeds, with pistachios instead of pecans. —LE BEC FIN

  • Makes ~ 64 cubes
Ingredients
  • 14 tablespoons heavy cream,divided into 8 Tablespoons and 6 Tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup. Medaglia d’Oro Espresso Powder
  • ½ c. honey
  • ½ c. white sugar
  • 1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
  • ½ stick unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¾ tsp. vanilla in 1 T. water
  • 1-1 ½ raw pecan halves or toasted skinned broken hazelnuts (or less)
  • Sea Salt
  • 4 ou. dark chocolate ( I prefer 72% Dark Caillebaut)-chopped to size of chocolate chips or so (chocolate coating is optional)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. This fits in an 8” x 8” pan , Silpat or an aluminum pan sprayed with non-stick coating. Heat ½ cup heavy cream. Whisk in the espresso powder til all is dissolved. Add remaining 6 T. cream through 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt. Stir with a wooden spoon over medium high heat and bring to a boil until sugars and butter are melted. Continue to boil briskly (but not to overflow the pan. It is helpful to use a deep heavy saucepan.) Every few minutes, gently stir/scrape the bottom of the pot so the mixture doesn’t burn.(A wooden spoon/ paddle with a flat bottom edge is best for this.). Keep nearby a small pot of warm water with a pastry brush. A few times during the ½ hr. or so of cooking, wipe down the insides of the pan with the wet pastry brush(this eliminates sugar crystals). Keep the brush sitting in the water. Check temp every 5-10 minutes. To glaze for Turtles :Put the chocolate in a microwave- proof dish, cover loosely with a lid and put in microwave on medium to med high Power for 2+ minutes. Stir and repeat til melted. Pop out the caramel from the silpat pan, smooth side down. Spread a thin layer of melted chocolate over; chill ; etc.
  2. While sugar syrup is cooking, spread nuts in single layer in bottom of 8" pan.Keep stirring mixture gently ; cook another 20+ minutes til a thermometer shows 265 degrees. * Temp will rise more quickly as it approaches its goal. Immediately remove from the heat and quickly stir in the vanilla mixture (keep back your head in case the mixture spatters.) Pour the caramel quickly into the 8 " pan, scraping out the pot. (Most recipes tell you not to do this, in case there is any crystallized sugar on the sides of the pan, but I have had no such trouble.)
  3. .Sprinkle lightly with sea salt to taste. If glazing with chocolate, skip this salt Let cool til warm and slightly stiffened, 30 minutes. For a minimum of 3 hours, chill the pan in the refrig.on a flat cookie sheet for stability. Remove from the frig , pop caramels out of the pan, smooth side down. Let return to room temp so caramel won’t crack when cut.
  4. To coat the Turtles: :Put the chocolate in a microwave- proof dish, cover loosely with a lid and put in microwave on medium to med high Power for 2+ minutes. Stir and repeat til melted. Pop out the caramel from the silpat pan, smooth side down. Spread a thin layer of melted chocolate over. Sprinkle with sea salt and chill a minimum of 3 hours.,
  5. Remove from refrigerator and let sit 1/2 hour so that cutting will be easier. Cube and wrap as desired. Store in frig or freezer in airtight container. *- This recipe is designed for dense chewy caramels, not soft caramels, so this temp may be higher than what you'd expect. Wowee gee, Mr. Bill

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I am always on the lookout for innovative recipes, which is why I am just ga-ga over my recently- discovered Food52 with its amazingly innovative and talented contributors. My particular eating passions are Japanese, Indian, Mexican; with Italian and French following close behind. Turkish/Arabic/Mediterranean cuisines are my latest culinary fascination. My desert island ABCs are actually 4 Cs: citrus, cumin, cilantro, and cardamom. I am also finally indulging in learning about food history; it gives me no end of delight to learn how and when globe artichokes came to the U.S., and how and when Jerusalem artichokes went from North America to Europe. And that the Americas enabled other cuisines to become glorious. I mean where would those countries be without: Corn, Tomatoes, Chiles,Peanuts, Dried Beans, Pecans, Jerusalem Artichokes??! While I am an omnivore, I am, perhaps more than anything, fascinated by the the world of carbohydrates, particularly the innovative diversity of uses for beans, lentils and grains in South Indian and other cuisines. Baking gives me much pleasure, and of all the things I wish would change in American food, it is that we would develop an appreciation for sweet foods that are not cloyingly sweet, and that contain more multigrains. (Wouldn't it be fantastic to have a country of great bakeries instead of the drek that we have in the U.S.?!) I am so excited by the level of sophistication that I see on Food52 and hope to contribute recipes that will inspire you like yours do me. I would like to ask a favor of all who do try a recipe of mine > Would you plse write me and tell me truthfully how it worked for you and/or how you think it would be better? I know many times we feel that we don't want to hurt someone's feelings, but. i really do want your honest feedback because it can only help me improve the recipe.Thanks so much.