Cappuccino-Pecan Nuggets (makes 3 dozen)
(don't be intimidated--it's actually very easy!)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tblsp. instant espresso/coffee (dry)
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
12 oz. vanilla flavored candy coating, chopped (I use Wilton's Candy Melts)
12 vanilla caramels
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tblsp. heavy whipping cream
72 large pecan halves
10-12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 Tblsp. shortening
Line 8- or 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil, leaving 1 inch of foil overhanging. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Mix brown sugar and espresso in 8-cup microwavable measure. Stir in condensed milk. Microwave, uncovered, on high 2-3 minutes, stirring every minute, until boiling. Stir in candy coating until melted. Pour into pan. Refrigerate uncovered about 30 minutes or until firm. Remove from pan and cut into 36 squares.
Place caramels, 1/4 cup chocolate chips and whipping cream in 2-cup microwaveable measure. Microwave on medium 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes, stirring every minute until mixtrue is almost melted. Stir until smooth. Refrigerate uncovered about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice until it holds its shape and is cool enough to handle.
Line cookie sheet with waxed paper. For each nugget, roll 1/2 teaspoon caramel-chocolate mixture into ball. Sandwich between two pecan halves, flattening ball slightly between bottom sides of pecan halves. Flatten and shape one square of espresso mixture evenly around pecan cluster. Roll between hands to form ball (if it gets sticky, dust lightly with powdered sugar.) Place on cookie sheet. Repeat to form 36 nuggets. Refrigerate about 15 minutes or until firm.
Place chocolate chips and shortening in dry microwaveable bowl or 4-cup measure (any water in the measure will cause chocolate to harden.) Microwave, uncovered, on medium 3-4 minutes, stirring every minute until chocolate is almost melted. Stir until smooth. Dip 1 nugget at a time, using fork, until coated (when removing nugget from chocolate, lightly tap bottom of fork on edge of bowl and draw fork across bowl to remove excess.) Place on foil-lined cookie sheet. Immediately sprinkle with finely chopped pecans or dust with mixture of equal parts instant espresso and cocoa powder. Drizzle some with remaining melted chocolate if desired. Refrigerate about 10 minutes or until set. Serve at room temp. Store in airtight container.