Pecan Logs


Easter is in two weeks. Are you thinking about making some special treats? How about making Beverly Wessman's wonderful Pecan Logs? You will love the tasty fondant dipped in caramel and coated with pecans.

Pecan Logs (Heritage Recipe)

Fondant:
4 cups sugar
1-1/3 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup dark Karo (can substitute regular Karo)
Mix all together and cook in a heavy saucepan. Use a wet pastry brush or dripping paper towel to wash all the sugar crystals off the sides of the pan down into the hot candy. A little water will not affect the recipe, but the fondant will be ruined by any sugar crystals remaining on the sides of the pan. While the candy is cooking, butter the countertop or pan you will pour the candy on.

Stir occasionally until the fondant begins to boil. Do not stir again! Cook to soft ball stage at 235°F to 240°F. The hot fondant mixture dropped into cold water will form a soft, flexible ball under water. When you remove the ball from the cold water, it will flatten out into a pancake in your hand. (An accurate thermometer takes out the guesswork.)

Pour on a buttered counter, a marble slab, or into a glass pan without scraping the pan at all. If you hate to waste what is left in the pan, scrape it into a separate container, and then if (when) it crystallizes, it won't ruin your whole batch. Cool until barely warm. How long it takes to cool depends on the temperature in your kitchen. You can put the pan in the fridge to speed the process, but it may still take 45 minutes to an hour. A double batch took 2 hours to cool enough for me.

Beat with a wooden spoon (or a silicone spoon or spatula) until the fondant forms. Have someone else help take turns beating it... it may take a while. It will go through the stages of sticky, to oily, and then will change quickly. When it changes to a lighter color and a consistency like play dough, stop mixing immediately.

Instructions for using a Bosch: This method saves a lot of time and will spare your arm muscles. While the fondant is cooking, prepare your bowl by putting in the dough hook. When the fondant is ready, pour the boiling hot fondant directly into your Bosch, remembering NOT to scrape the pan. That's right... boiling hot candy right into your plastic Bosch bowl. I know... eek. Don't worry... it works just great. It won't melt your plastic bowl. Let it cool in the fridge (or on the counter if your fridge is full) until the bowl is just warm to the touch. If you wait too long, the fondant will solidify (and might break your Bosch), so let it cool in the fridge for half an hour, and then check it every five to ten minutes until the bowl is warm to the touch instead of hot. A single batch is supposed to cool in about 45 minutes. My double batch took almost 2 hours to cool. Once it is cool enough, turn the dough hook a few turns by hand to make sure it's not too cold. (If it's too hard to turn, you will have to scrape it out and beat it by hand.) Then put the bowl on the mixer and turn your mixer to high and watch the mixture carefully. It will mix for a while and then suddenly change to fondant. Immediately turn off your mixer. It may look crystallized, but as you work handfuls of the fondant, it should turn into a beautiful, soft dough.

If you have been beating your fondant forever-and-a-day (20 minutes or more) and it still hasn't changed into fondant, add powdered sugar a little bit at a time until it changes to fondant. This will change the texture a bit, but may keep you from losing the whole batch.

Take a handful of fondant and knead it until the texture is smooth and consistent. Then shape into rolls about the width of your thumb and four to five inches long.



Freeze the rolls on a cookie sheet for at least 6 hours or longer until you are ready to dip them or roll them in caramel. Once they are frozen solid, you can keep them in the freezer in a ziploc baggie or an airtight container for several months.

Once the fondant sticks are frozen, chop up a pound or two of pecans and put them into a dish large enough to accommodate the pecan logs.

Then you can use a double boiler to melt about 1-2 pounds of store-bought caramel, or make your own using the original recipe below or another caramel recipe.

Caramel:
1 pint whipping cream
1 cup dark Karo
2 cups sugar
1 Tb. vanilla
1 square butter
Dash of salt
Mix 2/3 cup of the cream, all Karo, sugar, and salt. Cook to firm ball stage at 245°F to 250°F. To test this, pour a little syrup into cold water. Using your fingers, you should be able to gather the syrup into a ball that won’t flatten on its own when you take it out of the water, but remains the consistency of caramel and can easily be squeezed flat.

Add 2/3 cup more cream, and cook to firm ball stage again. Add the rest of the cream and the butter, and cook to firm ball stage for the third time. Add vanilla.

Pour on buttered countertop, allow to cool a little, cut, and roll around fondant and then in chopped pecans.

Alternatively, you can keep the caramel warm in a double boiler and quickly dip the frozen fondant sticks into the caramel using a candy dipper or two forks, and then roll the log in chopped pecans. The hot caramel will instantly defrost the frozen fondant logs.




If you drop the caramel dipped log into a pan of pecans and then quickly pat the pecans up and over the log, you should be able to get the pecans to stick before the caramel cools too much.




Keep the caramel warm as you work, but don't overheat it. As you use up the caramel, it is easy to overheat the last part of the melted caramel. If the temperature gets too high, your caramel will get crunchy as it cools.

Wrap each pecan log tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze.

 

Melinda's Notes: These are not completely the original instructions, just the original recipe. Beverly knew how to make the Pecan Logs, so the instructions were pretty basic. An experienced cook or candy maker would be able to use the original recipe to make perfect Pecan Logs. My sisters, mom, and I were able to use the recipe successfully to make the delicious pecan logs we had not attempted to make for 20+ years. However, there are a few little techniques that will make you more likely to be successful at making Grandma Wessman's Pecan Logs, including buying a good candy thermometer. I hope you don't mind my commentary. And one last note: these take a lot of time... but the result was definitely worth it.

Comments

  1. Using the Bosch is a brilliant idea! I have a fudge recipe that calls for beating by hand for 20 minutes, I will try my mixer the next time I make them.

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