Salted Caramel Chocolate Nests
I hope everyone had a great Easter Sunday. Mine was a bit more relaxed than last year. I hosted Easter brunch last year at my house. This year, my sister said she would host as long as I agreed to bake a couple casseroles to bring over. I made two casseroles from last year (see my old blog posts for the recipes), my french toast casserole and my ham, bacon and egg hash brown casserole. I prepared them the night before so all I had to do this morning was pop them in the oven, then take them over to my sister’s house once they were done. But since I can’t seem to just sit back and relax on a holiday, I decided to make salted caramel chocolate nests. I got the recipe from QVC’s host David Venable. You can find the original recipe at: http://www.qvc.com/SaltedCaramelChocolateNests.content.html
It’s a very simple recipe, but it is very messy to make, so be forewarned. The end result is worth the sticky fingers. It is the perfect mix of salty and sweet. My husband didn’t think the ingredients went together until he tried the end product. It’s quite tasty.
Salted Caramel Chocolate Nests Recipe
12 oz vanilla caramels, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp milk
6.5 oz potato sticks
8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
Jelly beans or chocolate eggs for decoration (optional)
I (not quite) doubled the recipe so I could make more nests. I wanted to make sure we’d have enough to eat for a few days. I used one full 14 oz. bag of caramels and 1/3rd of a second bag. It was very caramel-y, so I don’t think I needed any more. I added just a little bit more milk and kept the same amount of salt. I used 2/3rds of a can of potato sticks. The original recipe says it only makes 6-8 nests. I just didn’t think that was enough. I also made bigger nests for the adults, and smaller ones for my daughter. Feel free to make your own changes and adjustments as you see fit.
Line a baking pan with parchment paper and lightly spray the paper with cooking spray. This is an important step to make sure that the nests don’t stick. Set the pan aside.
Place the chopped vanilla caramels, salt, and milk in a microwave-safe bowl. I only chopped the caramels in half to save time. They still melt just fine. Microwave in 30 second intervals and stir after each interval until the caramels are completely melted and the mixture is smooth. (This may take up to 2-1/2 minutes.) Let the mixture cool for 30 seconds.
Carefully stir the potato sticks into the caramel mixture until completely coated. The original directions say to rub your hands with oil and form 6-8 uneven circles and place them onto the prepared baking pan. I tried rubbing my hands with oil, but these were so sticky that I was unable to form them into circles. It just stuck to my hands. Instead, I used a big spoon to scoop some of the mixture out of the bowl, then placed it onto the baking pan to form the circle. This was much easier and less messy. Use one or two fingers (or the back of a spoon) and press the middles down, creating a nest-like shape.
Refrigerate the nests for 35-40 minutes, or until the caramel has hardened. I put the nests in the fridge for a few hours and they still weren’t really hardened. It may be a good idea to pop them in the freezer for a bit if you want them to harden well.
While the nests are in the refrigerator, melt the chocolate chips on top of a double boiler. Or you can melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Dip the bottoms of the nests into the melted chocolate, and then place the nests back onto the prepared baking pan. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened.
Once the chocolate hardens, the chocolate will help hold the nests together better. If you want to complete the nest, add some jelly beans or chocolate coated chocolate eggs to the top. This makes them look super cute, and adds a festive feel to them.
Mine didn’t come out quite as cute as the ones from the recipe picture, but I also had a two-year-old helping me do it. I’m sure that makes a difference.
These treats are definitely good, even if they are a little messy to make. Be prepared to lick caramel off your hands when you’re done. Happy Easter!