Okay, even though we posted this the next day, it is probably easiest to make the caramel the same day. Sorry, but with the Internet on computers these days, you kind of get what you pay for.
This is such a great holiday treat, and we often make them during the holidays to give away. While we could get a something crappy at Dul-Mart, we find that making these takes about the same time, and most people just love ’em. Besides they pay homage to bears, the coolest animals on the planet, so you got to make them at least once in your life, right?
We use a modified version of the recipe provided in The Joy of Chocolate by Judith Olney.
Makes 24 bear paws
- 48 pecan halves ( about 1/4 lb)
- 8 ounces cashews
- Cream caramel, freshly made
- 6 ounces best quality bittersweet chocolate
Buy the best chocolate you can find. These are treats. Not something you just stuff down your gullet. Live a little! Sure, it’ll cost more, but it’ll be so worth it. Nuts: use unsalted, or roasted and lightly salted. The contrast between the salty and sweet is sooo good.
Arrange the nuts. On two parchment lined baking sheets, place five cashews and two pecans to make “paws.” Do this over and over until you have 24 “paws.”
Cover each paw with caramel. After making the cream caramel, let it sit for about 10 minutes, and then spoon a glob over each “paw.”
Don’t bother scraping the pan out for the bear paws. That’s for you to eat; after all, you’re the chef here. Think of it as quality control.
Refrigerate. Let the “paws” cool for an hour or two.
Melt chocolate. Break the chocolate into small pieces and microwave at 50% power for a minute, stir. Repeat the microwaving and stirring until the chocolate melts. Don’t go over a minute, and don’t go past 50% power. You do not want to burn the chocolate. Patience.
Cover “paws” with chocolate. With a rubber spatula, scoop up a glob of chocolate and thickly smear it in the “paws.” When you’ve covered all 24, feel free to do something with any chocolate left over. We won’t tell.
Refrigerate. Let the paws cool until the chocolate hardens, about an hour.
Test one out. Then package the rest to give away. You must share treats this good. It involves chocolate, so, well, you can guess how many stars.