Caramel Cashew Clusters

by Jamie on November 29, 2011

Post image for Caramel Cashew Clusters

I tore the November page off of my desk calendar last night. I’ve been staring at a gigantic diet coke stain for about 2 weeks and couldn’t take it anymore. Although I’m a couple of days early, seeing December in big, bold letters across my desk made me feel flustered and anxious.

In theory, the holidays really shouldn’t be all that stressful, but let’s face it – they are. My holiday to-do list is a mile long. The rational side of me knows that I’ll never accomplish everything on it, but the go-getter in me forces me to give it one hell of a shot.


Because I know how crazy December can be, I decided to create a variety of recipes to share with you. Some will be a little more involved, but others will be incredibly simple like these Caramel Cashew Clusters. My hope is to arm you with a vast array of holiday recipes that will get you through any cookie swap, gift exchange, holiday party, or emotional eating extravaganza.

Today’s post is all about simplicity. These Cashew Clusters only require a few ingredients; they come together in minutes and always end up disappearing just as quickly as you made them. I hope you adore this sweet and salty holiday candy as much as we do.

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Caramel Cashew Clusters

November 29th, 2011

Yield: 20 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

30 individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped {about 8 ounces}
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup
salted cashews, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons vegetable shortening

Directions:

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine caramels and cream. While stirring constantly, heat mixture until caramels are fully melted. Remove pan from heat.

3. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the vanilla and cashews until they are thoroughly mixed into the melted caramels.

4. Spray a small or medium cookie scoop with non-stick cooking spray and scoop the caramel-cashew mixture 2 inches apart onto the prepared pan. If you prefer a more symmetrically shaped cluster, use your fingers to mold this caramel. Repeat with rest of mixture.

5. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate and shortening until smooth stirring every 30 seconds or so.

6. Drizzle melted chocolate over clusters. See recipe notes for storage information.

Notes:

- The clusters are sticky, so you'll want to store them on parchment in the refrigerator. Leave them on the parchment and remove them to room temperature about 30 minutes before serving.
- Definitely feel free to experiment with the type of nuts that you use. Salted pecans or peanuts would be delicious.
- Love chocolate? You can definitely cover these completely with chocolate, you'll just have to play around with the proportions a bit. We prefer them with just a drizzle.

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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar November 29, 2011 at 6:31 am

These clusters are the real deal! Cashews are my favorite nut, but I’ve never paired them with anything sweet. These sound so yummy!

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avatar Rosa November 29, 2011 at 7:09 am

Those look ever so irresistible and delicious! I love that first shot.

Cheers,

Rosa

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avatar Melissa @ Kids in the Sink November 29, 2011 at 7:26 am

Ohhh yes! Emotional eating, here I come! Do you think butter would sub ok for the shortening? I don’t keep shortening around usually.

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avatar The Sweet Cupcaker November 29, 2011 at 8:05 am

these look so good! Wonderful photography as well!

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avatar Laura November 29, 2011 at 8:50 am

Those look decadent and delicious! I love the fact that they are simple to make.

Can’t wait for the rest of the tasty treats you will come up with.

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avatar tj November 29, 2011 at 8:57 am

…Oh my. These look and sound delectable! :o)

…Btw, your photos of these are absolutely stunning!

…Thank you for the recipe and enjoy the holiday season! *<:o{)}}}

…Blessings

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avatar Cookbook Queen November 29, 2011 at 10:20 am

I love simple and impressive recipes like this…they sound and look FABULOUS!!

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avatar Annie @ Annie's Cooking Lab November 29, 2011 at 11:17 am

I’m a huge fan of cashews, these sound great! I don’t usually use much shortening, but I have a little bit left over from cooking on Thanksgiving. Clearly that’s a sign I should make these soon!

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avatar Dena Hamlin November 29, 2011 at 11:25 am

I think I have a date with these pretties this weekend. Yummmo!!!

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avatar Katherine Martinelli November 29, 2011 at 11:34 am

I love the salty-sweet combo here! Delicious. Can’t wait to make this holiday season – and am looking forward to seeing what else you come up with!

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avatar Heather Taylor @ Kids in the Sink November 29, 2011 at 12:19 pm

These look great! I’m trying to come up with a list of things to make as gifts from the kitchen for this Christmas. Do these get sticky after coming back to room temperature from the fridge? I’m just wondering how they would do as part of the gift.

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avatar Jamie November 29, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Heather-
They get a bit sticky if they sit out for too long. I recommend that you package and serve them on parchment.
-Jamie

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avatar Paula November 29, 2011 at 12:58 pm

These must be absolutely delicious!

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avatar Mercedes@Satisfy My Sweet Tooth November 29, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I have been looking for a good turtle recipe and I think I will adapt this one and use it with pecans for my turtles! Thanks for sharing!

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avatar Lottie @ Lottiesworldofcakes November 29, 2011 at 2:23 pm

These look so delicious!!

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Amber November 29, 2011 at 4:38 pm

I’ll say it again. I want to eat these in my mouth. Right now. Must get some cashews.

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avatar Leah @ Freutcake November 29, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Oh yum! Those look buttery and delicious!

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avatar Ann P. November 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Cashews are great because they’re probably one of the sweeter nuts. But their salty taste pairs perfectly with chocolate!! these little clusters are so cute, and great for giving away to friends! :) great post!

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avatar Jan November 29, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Jamie, those look incredible; the photograph is phenomenal.
I felt my jeans shrink a size just looking at them!!! Can’t wait
to try this recipe! Thank you!

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avatar Kim November 29, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Well oh my these look so good. May have to had these to my goodie tins this Christmas.

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avatar charlie November 29, 2011 at 5:47 pm

dude. whoa.
so, I tried to post just the above thing and some robot said my comment was “a bit too short” so I wrote all this when what I really just wanted to say was:

dude. whoa.

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avatar Jamie November 29, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Ha! Well thanks for the extended comment and the dude. whoa. I appreciate them both!
-Jamie

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avatar Nicholle @ Montalvo Country November 29, 2011 at 6:24 pm

DELISH!!!!!! I need to make these for sure. Would be great holiday party snacks!! :D

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avatar allison November 29, 2011 at 7:24 pm

How much of a package is 30 caramels? whole bag? I ask because my local Target has bags of Kraft caramel bits. Comes in 11oz bags and about size of chocolate chips. I love adding them in cookies!! A little easier than unwrapping too.

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avatar Jamie November 29, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Allison-
It is less than the whole bag – ends up equaling about 8 ounces of caramels. Hope this helps!
-Jamie

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avatar allison November 29, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Thank you Jamie. Can’t wait to try this!

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avatar nicole {sweet peony} November 29, 2011 at 7:31 pm

oh man these look delicious!!!!! i loooove cashews & have never thought to put them in a candy-ish treat like this… yummmm! thanks jamie!

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avatar Joyce S. November 29, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Jamie,

Do you have an ounces measurement for the caramel. I have a package of the small beads of caramel unwrapped. This would be a great recipe to use them with.

Thanks!

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avatar Jamie November 29, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Joyce-
I just weighed them for you. It’s about 8 ounces for 30 pieces. Hope this helps! I’ll update the recipe to reflect this.
-Jamie

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avatar Natalie November 29, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Looks absolutely delicious!

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avatar Laura @ A Healthy Jalapeño November 29, 2011 at 10:45 pm

these look amazing, perfect for the holidays :)

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avatar Becca November 29, 2011 at 11:33 pm

I like caramel, I like cashews, and I love chocolate. These seems perfect for whipping up on a weekend.

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avatar anh@anhsfoodblog.com November 30, 2011 at 12:22 am

I love all kinds of caramel so this is wonderful!

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avatar andrea November 30, 2011 at 3:59 am

I cannot get individual packed caramels any other idea?
thanx a lot!

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avatar Anna November 30, 2011 at 7:58 am

It is the end of the year list of to do’s that make me stressed out…Inventories, financial reports, household lists and errands to do and deadlines to beat. Ugh! The holidays should be festive, I know right! That is why I am staying in the kitchen with my apron, despite the piles of paper works left undone. I am making myself these Caramel Cashew Clusters…After all, I need a stress reliever! Thanks for sharing!

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avatar Tracy November 30, 2011 at 2:38 pm

My dad loves cashews so I’m pretty sure he would love these! Thanks for the recipe!

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avatar Julesy Stoy November 30, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Those would definitely not last long in my house :) They look delicious!

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avatar Sue S. December 4, 2011 at 10:34 am

Looks fabulous! I assume you add the vanilla to the caramel mixture?

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avatar Jamie December 4, 2011 at 10:42 am

Sue-
Yes, sorry about that – I’ve corrected the recipe. :)
-Jamie

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avatar Pretty. Good. Food. December 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Made these last night for a party – everyone loved them! They were delicious :)

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avatar Joan December 12, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Great recipe and so easy to make!!!! Thank you!

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avatar Hadeel April 5, 2012 at 6:52 pm

These looks delish, and super easy! I’m from Egypt, and it’s hard to find wrapped caramels here. Is there a substitute?

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avatar Della June 23, 2012 at 6:29 am

This looks soooo tasty!! I must try!! Your blog is amazing! I hope I get to your level soon, I’ve just started mine! Please check it out and tell me what you think! I’m obsessed with MBA!!

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avatar Kimberley September 4, 2012 at 8:27 am

I made these on the weekend! They were absolutely delicious and super easy too. Love.

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avatar Jamie September 4, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Kimberly-
I am so glad to hear you enjoyed the cashew clusters – thanks for coming back and letting us know the recipe was a success in your kitchen! Have a great day.
-Jamie

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avatar Anita September 8, 2012 at 4:13 pm

I make a lot of chocolate goodies, and have found that using morsels means ending up with a sticky product, especially when mixed with oils or some type of shortening. I recommend using baking chocolate instead.

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avatar Kelly December 21, 2012 at 12:51 pm

How long do you think these will keep in the fridge?

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avatar Cindy October 15, 2013 at 8:25 pm

I go from eating one nut for a few months & then move on to another. First it was pistachios for many months, now it is cashews. I will be making this, thanks. I do bake often using walnuts & pecans. O, I have never baked chocolate w/shortening. I always had issues w/melting it in the micro. it gets dried out to me, so hopefully this will help..

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avatar Jamie October 20, 2013 at 10:50 pm

Cindy-

I go in phases too! Please come back and let us know how you like the recipe! Have a wonderful day and thank you so much for following MBA!

-Jamie

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