Brown Sugar-Pecan Fudge Balls Recipe
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup half and half
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
32 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened or semisweet) chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup chocolate sprinkles
Coat inside of medium metal bowl with one-half teaspoon butter. Place remaining butter in same bowl; set aside.
Combine sugars, half and half and salt in medium saucepan that is at least four inches deep. Let stand 10 minutes. Stir over medium-low heat until sugars are almost dissolved, frequently brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush, about 12 minutes. Increase heat to medium. Continue to stir until syrup comes to boil, occasionally brushing down sides of pan, about 10 minutes longer. Attach candy thermometer. Boil syrup without stirring until candy thermometer registers 234° F., about 16 minutes (caramel will bubble vigorously in pan).
Attach thermometer to bowl containing butter. Pour caramel over butter (but do not stir). Cool caramel just to 112 degrees, about one hour and 30 minutes. Using electric mixer, beat caramel until sheen just begins to disappear and mixture thickens slightly, about four minutes. Stir in chopped pecans. Cool mixture until thick enough to roll into balls, about two hours.
Line four baking sheets with waxed paper. Using about one tablespoon mixture for each ball, spoon mixture in 48 mounds on one sheet. Press or roll each mound between palms of hands into ball. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Stir chocolate in medium bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water until smooth and candy thermometer registers 115° F. (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Remove from over water. Drop one ball into chocolate. Using fork, turn to coat. Using fork tines, lift ball from chocolate, allowing excess to drip into bowl. Using knife as aid, slide ball off fork onto second prepared sheet. Repeat with 15 balls, rewarming chocolate as needed to maintain temperature of 115° F. While chocolate is still wet, sprinkle with one-fourth cup sprinkles. Repeat with remaining fudge balls and sprinkles in two more batches, placing 16 balls on each of remaining two unused sheets.
Chill balls until coating is firm, about 30 minutes. (Can be prepared two weeks ahead. Refrigerate in covered containers.) Let stand 20 minutes at room temperature before serving.
Source: Bon Appetit magazine, December 2000
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