Cook’s Notes: The hardest part of this recipe is unwrapping the caramels. We had extra caramel topping, using 30 caramels. Using 24 caramels would probably be enough. These dark chocolate treats were very popular with my coworkers. They are attractive, delicious, and so easy to make. This fudge has a soft texture. In fact, we keep it in the freezer. It quickly comes to room temperature. To make a firmer fudge, or to roll truffles from the mixture, reduce the milk to 6 oz (3/4 c). You could also use heavy cream instead of sweetened condensed milk.
1 bag (12 oz) Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate chips (2 c)
1 c sweetened condensed milk
1 T vanilla extract
24 caramels, unwrapped
1 T water
40 pecan halves
Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Lightly coat foil with cooking spray. Set pan aside.
In large saucepan, melt chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk, stirring until chocolate is melted and smooth.
Note: If the chips resist melting, stir 1/2 tsp olive oil into the pot.
Remove melted chocolate mixture from heat and stir in vanilla. Spread chocolate mixture into prepared pan and smooth the top. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or until firm (up to 1 week).
Lift firm, chilled chocolate mixture from pan, using foil handles.
Place 40 candy papers (mini baking cups) on a baking sheet. Cut mixture into 40 small square pieces, 1 to 1.5 inches. Place one square in each candy paper.
Toast the pecans: Spread the pecan halves out in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Spread pecans out on wax paper until cooled. Be careful not to burn the pecans.
Make the topping: Place caramels and water in heavy small saucepan. Heat over low heat until melted, stirring frequently.
Assemble: Top each fudge piece with a dollop of caramel. Press one pecan half into the caramel on each piece.
To store, place candies between layers of waxed paper in an airtight container and refrigerate. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator up to 3 weeks. Bring to room temperature just before serving.
Yields: 40 pieces of fudge
Recipe Sources: Modified from several sources, including http://infoline.officehiway.com/fudge-candy-recipes.htm and http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/easy-turtle-fudge-recipe.htm