Pecan Logs

3 cups sugar
1 cup light cream, half and half
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups real butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1-1 1/2 pounds chopped pecans**

Combine 3 cups sugar, cream, and 1/4 cup corn syrup in a heavy sauce pan. Stir to dissolve sugar and bring to a boil. Wash sugar crystals down from sides of pan. Without stirring cook to softball stage (approximately 235-240 degrees F). Pour candy out on a buttered marble slab or large baking pan with sides. Do not scrape candy from pan. Place vanilla on candy. Cool to lukewarm. Beat fondant until it sets up. Scrape fondant from pan and knead until smooth. Divide fondant into 8 pieces and shape each piece into a log approximately 3-4 inches long. Wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper, set aside to ‘ripen’ at room temperature for 24 hours.

(This step may be eliminated by substituting a 14 oz bag of commercial caramels – skip to next step). Combine condensed milk, butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, brown sugar, and 1 1/2 cups corn syrup in a large heavy pan. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue to stir candy and cook to firm ball stage (approximately 250 degrees F) pour into shallow buttered pan. Allow to cool.

Cut caramels into four pieces. Cut each fourth into smaller pieces, place 1/2 the caramel in top of double boiler, add 2 tablespoons milk. Place on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, heat until caramels are melted. Add 1-2 tablespoons additional milk, if needed, to make melted caramel consistency for dipping (do not over thin).

Place a sheet of wax paper on a cookie sheet and lightly spray wax paper with non-stick spray. Set aside.

Place chopped pecans on a sheet of wax paper. Using a fork, dip fondant logs in warm caramel, then place log on chopped nuts. Use the edges of the wax paper to help, roll the log in chopped nuts until well coated. Place log on prepared wax paper lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate logs to harden. Wrap cooled logs in wax paper and store in cool place until ready to slice and enjoy.

** For a tasty variation, substitute chopped salted peanuts for the pecans.

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