Caramel Pecan Treasures

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cups light brown sugar; firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
25 to 30 caramels, cut in half, rolled into balls
Pecan Valley Pecan Pieces; finely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Have ungreased baking sheets ready.
2. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla in large mixer bowl until well-mixed. Stir in flour and baking powder. (If kitchen is warm, refrigerate dough for a few minutes; dough should be firm enough to roll easily.) Shape scant teaspoonsful of dough into balls about the size of a marble. Place on baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Flatten slightly.
3. Bake in preheated oven until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
4. Melt chocolate chips with shortening in top of double boiler set over simmering water. Remove from heat.
5. Flatten caramel halves so they are the same diameter as the cookie. Put one caramel half on top of each cookie. (If necessary, use a dab of chocolate as “glue” to help caramel adhere to cookie.) Using a small metal spatula, spread melted chocolate thinly over top and sides of caramel and cookie to cover. Press chopped pecans onto tops of cookies. Let stand on a wire rack until chocolate firms (refrigerate if desired), about 20 minutes. Put into individual paper wrappers. Store in a cookie tin with a piece of wax paper between each layer.

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