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Dulce De Leche Pecan Bites

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Dulce de Leche Pecan Bites
(c) 2009 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Dulce de Leche, or caramelized condensed milk, is the star ingredient in these unusual and delicious Dulce de Leche Pecan Bites. This tasty cousin to caramel is sandwiched between two large toasted pecans, then the whole package is dipped in semi-sweet chocolate. The combination of sweet and tangy dulce de leche, crunchy toasted pecans, and rich chocolate is fabulously addicting. This recipe yields about 60 Pecan Bites.

Ingredients:

  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk (or 1 cup prepared dulce de leche, firm)
  • 2 cups large pecan halves
  • 1 lb chocolate or chocolate candy coating

Preparation:

1. First, prepare the dulce de leche a day in advance. (If you have storebought dulce de leche that is firm enough to scoop and hold its shape, skip this step.) Remove the label from the can of condensed milk, and place it in a deep saucepan. Fill the pan with water so that the can is completely submerged. Bring the water to a simmer and allow it to simmer for 5 hours. Several times an hour, check the saucepan to make sure that the water is still covering the top of the can, and add water as necessary. After 5 hours, turn off the heat and allow the can to cool completely before removing it. This can take over an hour, so I find it’s easiest to do this step a day before I need the dulce de leche. (This can also be done in a crockpot, set on low for 8-9 hours, or in a pressure cooker for about 1 hour. Always remember to let the can cool completely before opening it, to prevent burns.)

2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F, and place the pecan halves on a baking sheet. Bake until toasted and fragrant, about 8-10 minutes, stirring several times during the process to avoid burning the nuts. Allow the nuts to cool completely.

3. Use a small spoon to scoop up a bit of dulce de leche, and place it on a pecan half. Top the dulce de leche with another pecan half, pressing gently to create a sandwich. Place this on a baking sheet lined with foil, and repeat with remaining pecans and dulce de leche. Refrigerate the sandwiches while you prepare the chocolate.

4. If you are using real chocolate, it is best to temper the chocolate so that it will remain set at warmer temperatures. If you are using chocolate candy coating, simply melting it in the microwave is fine. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval to prevent overheating. Stir the melted chocolate or coating until it is completely smooth.

5. Place a pecan sandwich in the melted chocolate and spoon chocolate over the top until it is completely covered. Remove it from the chocolate using a fork or dipping tools, and tap the fork against the bowl several times so excess chocolate drops off. Drag the bottom along the lip of the bowl to remove additional chocolate, then place the dipped pecan sandwich back on the foil-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pecans and chocolate.

6. Refrigerate the tray until the chocolate is set, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately, or store Dulce De Leche Pecan Bites in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

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