Hazelnut and Cherry Caramel Clusters
4 ounces white chocolate or white chocolate baking squares, chopped
1 tablespoon shortening
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped hazelnuts (filberts) or almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried tart red cherries or dried cranberries
12 vanilla caramels, unwrapped
2 teaspoons butter
Line a baking sheet with foil. Butter the foil; set baking sheet aside.
In a small heavy saucepan melt white chocolate and shortening over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth.
Remove from heat; stir in hazelnuts and cherries.
Let stand for 10 minutes to allow mixture to set up slightly.
Drop by a rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheet.
In another small heavy saucepan combine caramels and butter. Cook and stir over low heat until melted and smooth (if mixture is too thick to drizzle, stir in 2 teaspoons hot water).
Remove from heat; drizzle over the candy clusters.
Let stand for about 1 hour or until firm.
Store tightly covered for up to 3 days.
Makes 18 pieces.