Hungry Happenings: Chocolate Caramel Filled Pumpkins make a sweet Thanksgiving treat.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Chocolate Caramel Filled Pumpkins make a sweet Thanksgiving treat.


Oh, how I love the cool crisp air of fall, even when I'm enjoying it on the beach in Florida. I just returned from a much needed 10 day vacation and have to admit that I was happy it wasn't in the 90's during our stay by the ocean. We still had plenty of opportunity to stroll barefoot in the sand while splashing through the waves and we even took daily dips in the pool and hot tub despite high winds and cool temperatures. It was so wonderful to just relax. I was having such a good time that I really got behind on my e-mail correspondence. If you've sent me pictures of your Halloween treats, I'll get to them soon.


This was the first trip to Florida where my husband and I drove and we made lots of stops along the way. Our first adventure was in Chattanooga, Tennessee where we spent hours exploring Rock City and all it's beautiful scenery. If you haven't been there, you should check it out. It was the highlight of our travel stops. While in Chattanooga, we also saw Ruby Falls, which, if you enjoy being underground for over an hour, walking on uneven rock floors, to view rock formations and a waterfall, go for it. I could have skipped it altogether and instead just enjoyed a nice nap.


On our way home we took a different route and spent an afternoon at the waterfront in Savannah, Georgia, strolled through a Renaissance Festival in North Carolina, explored log cabins at Bob Evans farm and homestead, saw a statue of the Mothman (my husband's choice), and visited Andy Griffiths hometown, Mt. Airy which was the inspiration for Mayberry on the Andy Griffith show. 

Aside from the snow we encountered in West Virginia and the rain that caused slowdowns in Cincinnati, we had great weather and a wonderful time. I was so happy our exchange student got to see so much of our country. We both wish we were still at the beach. 

Now that we are home, we have the daunting task of taking down all the Halloween decorations, but before I started that process, I had to get into the kitchen to prepare something sweet for Thanksgiving to share with you.


Chocolate Caramel Filled Pumpkins (makes 8-10 small pumpkins)

You can make as many or as few pumpkins as you'd like. I made 9 and they were the size of the cute little pumpkins you'll find in the grocery store. If you decide to make your pumpkins even smaller, you may need a bit more candy coating to cover them all. Before you begin this recipe, if you aren't experienced with making chocolate, read my Chocolate Making Tips page.

Nestle La Lechera Dulce de Leche Caramel, 380 grmsIngredients:

14 ounces milk chocolate

1 (13.4 ounce) can Dulce de Leche (caramel)
12 ounces orange or white confectionery coating / Candy Melts
optional: orange, red, green candy coloring
optional: Lorann Pumpkin Oil (pumpkin pie flavored oil)

Special Supplies Needed:

baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat

Instructions:


Finely chop milk chocolate. Open can of Dulce de Leche.


Melt milk chocolate and allow it to cool to about 91 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir in Dulce de Leche. (For a detailed explanation of melting chocolate and why using melted chocolate that is too hot will result in oily modeling chocolate, read this tutorial. ) 


The mixture will get very thick, but you need to make sure all of the caramel is mixed into the chocolate, so use your hands if needed. Once well mixed, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. When you unwrap it, knead it in your hands until smooth, about 30 seconds. 


Divide the caramel modeling chocolate into 8-12 pieces. reserving about a heaping tablespoonful for the pumpkin stems.


Roll into balls.


Flatten slightly and make an indentation in the center.


Use a knife to cut grooves starting at the indentation and going all the way around to the opposite side.


Use the back of the knife to widen the groves for a more defined pumpkin shape.


Divide the reserved modeling chocolate into 8-12 pieces and roll them into short logs for the pumpkin stems.


Pour confectionery coating into a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for 40 seconds.


Stir, even though the wafers will not look like they've melted at all.


Heat for 30 seconds on high, then allow it to sit in the microwave for one to two minutes. Remove and stir vigorously.


Heat again for 10-15 second increments, stirring after each, until melted.  Every microwave is different, but be careful to go slowly as the candy can burn easily.

If you want deeper colored pumpkins, add some orange candy coloring. For a true pumpkin color, add a drop of green and a drop of red. Add more as needed until you get the desired shade. You can change the color as you work, so that you have pumpkins with different shades of orange.

Now is also the time to add Pumpkin oil, if you'd like. Add a few drops, then taste. Add more until you like the flavor.

If your candy coating gets a bit too thick, add some paramount crystals, vegetable oil or coconut oil to thin it out.


Once your candy coating is melted, you are ready to dip you chocolate caramel pumpkins. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat, non-stick liner.


To ensure a nice coating on the bottoms of your chocolate caramel pumpkins, I suggest you spread a layer of the candy coating on the bottoms before you dip them. Just be sure you only cover the flat surface, or your pumpkins wont have a natural look to them.


Drop one chocolate caramel pumpkin into your orange coating.


Use a fork to press the pumpkin down into the candy coating.


Completely submerge the pumpkin in the coating.


Use the fork to lift the pumpkin out of the candy coating.


Tap the fork on the side of the bowl several times until the excess candy coating falls off the pumpkin. Be sure the indentation is apparent; you might need to put your finger in it and push the candy coating out. 


Set the candy coated pumpkin on your lined baking sheet.


Allow the fork to slide out from under the pumpkin. Smooth out any rough spots made by the tines of the fork.


Press one stem into the indentation. Repeat until you have half of your pumpkins completed. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes until the candy coating is set. 

Reheat your candy coating for 10-15 second increments, stirring after each until melted and fluid again. Continue dipping the remaining chocolate caramel pumpkins and adding the stems. Chill in refrigerator until set. 


Serve at Thanksgiving or Halloween as dessert or wrap in clear cellophane bags and give as gifts. Store in an airtight container. These will keep well for at least a month.


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Thank you for visiting Hungry Happenings 

- Beth



Products used for this project that are available on Amazon.com (commission earned for sales)
  

11 comments:

  1. What a super cool idea! This is the first I have heard of canned Dulce de Leche... I'm intrigued.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Janine. I've used the canned Dulce de Leche in lots of desserts and really like it. I've made my own by cooking Sweetened Condensed Milk in a pan over low heat, stirring occasionally until it caramelizes. It takes a long time and tastes the same. It costs less, but I figure the gas I use on my stove costs as much as I save.

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  2. Those are the sweetest pumpkins that I have ever seen!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I for sure would love to try these - not only are they beautiful,they look delicious! YUM!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for linking these up Beth! Love them!

    ReplyDelete
  5. They're PERFECT. And you use Dulce de Leche from La Lechera! One of my countrie's products. Kisses from Valencia, Spain.
    Ana

    ReplyDelete

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