I made this pie for the first time on Saturday. I actually made two of them - one for a pie contest and one for a pie auction to benefit my MOPS group. Our church was having our annual community day with an outdoor service, picnic, and various activities afterwards. Ever determined to have my pie stick out in the crowd, I avoided traditional sorts of pies (good thing, there were at least 4 apple and 3 pumpkin varieties in the contest) and went for something I had never tried. I found it in one of my Taste of Home cookbooks. Fortunately, I did get to try it, and I absolutely loved it. How can you go wrong with caramel, chocolate, and pecans? I mean, really. It ended up winning "Best of Show", which is somehow differentiated from "Grand Prize" in a way which I don't know....but anyways, it was popular with the judges as well. Hurray!
1 (9-in) chocolate pie crust (I used storebought for simplicity's sake)
30 caramels, unwrapped
3 T. butter
2 T. water
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 (3 0z) package cream cheese, softened (I actually used 4 oz)
1/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet - but milk chocolate would be good too)
3 T. hot water
8 oz whipped topping, thawed
In a large saucepan, add the caramels, butter and water. Cook and stir over medium heat until caramels are melted. Spread over crust; sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth; spread over caramel layer. Refrigerate.
In a large saucepan, melt chocolate chips with hot water over low heat; stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Fold in whipped topping. Spread over cream cheese layer. Garnish as desired - I grated some of a frozen chocolate bar on the top.
Chill until serving. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 8 servings.