Cooking Through The Baker's Man: Critters
If you’re passing through Mystic Water on a Tuesday, you should stop by Bea’s Bakery. On Tuesdays, Anna creates a few animal-themed treats that the after-school kids love as well as the adults.
Feeling tired? Out of sorts? Heart-weary? Anna has a cure for you on Tuesdays. She makes turtles and bears and critters, oh my! Customers in need of a boost of happiness buy dozens of turtles (chocolate-covered pecans) every Tuesday. Those who need peace in their weary hearts buy bears (chocolate-covered walnuts).
But sometimes customers need peace, happiness, and energy. Anna prescribes half a dozen critters as the remedy. For those who need an extra dose, purchase an even dozen.
Chocolate Caramel Critters
Serves: 24 critters
Level of Difficulty: As easy as smiling
8 ounces mixed nuts
1 bag of caramel squares, unwrapped (approximately 30 caramels)
¼ c heavy cream
16 oz roughly chopped chocolate, melted
sea salt, optional
How to Make
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Note: These will need to fit into your freezer. Choose wisely.
Make small piles of nuts, using 5–6 pieces per pile. Overlap the nuts some to reduce gaps so the caramel doesn’t seep through.
In a medium microwave-safe bowl, add the caramels and cream, and heat on high power to melt, stopping to stir every 30 seconds, until caramels are completely melted. Note: Do not microwave longer than 30 seconds at a time because the caramels will burn. This is not a pleasant smell.
Add 1 tablespoon of caramel to the top of each pile; set aside.
In a medium microwave-safe bowl, add 16 ounces of chocolate and heat to melt, about 1 minute on high power. Heat in 30-second increments until chocolate can be stirred smooth.
Add 2 tablespoons of chocolate to the top of each nut cluster by dolloping it on top and letting it fall down the sides.
Add a pinch of sea salt to each critter.
Allow critters to firm up at room temp (will take many hours) or in the fridge or freezer (approximately 15 minutes) before serving.
Critters will keep airtight at room temperature for weeks, or in the fridge or freezer for many months.
The Baker’s Man can be purchased in paperback or for the Kindle from Amazon. Ebooks are available at Barnes & Noble, iBooks, KOBO, and other major retailers.