These polar bear paw candies are caramel nut clusters (made with peanut and cashews) that are coated in a blanket of creamy white chocolate. They’re perfect for the holiday season since they’re no-bake, easy, and taste amazing!
This is one of my Holiday Dessert recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand!
This time of year, free time is at a premium, and in short supply. So while baking is fun, sometimes you just want a simple dessert that you can make in no time!
These polar bear paws are the perfect no-bake candy that you can make without too much effort, and they last a long time in the refrigerator.
I love these white chocolate covered caramel nut clusters because they’re easy to customize to your tastes, and you can decorate them as festively as you’d like.
So this holiday season, I hope you give this homemade candy recipe a try!
How to make polar bear paws candy?
This is just an overview; the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
- Melt caramel. I like to do this in a saucepan, but you can also use a microwave if you prefer.
- Stir. Stir in the salt and vanilla to flavor the caramel even more.
- Add nuts. You can do this right in the saucepan.
- Stir. You’ll want to let the caramel nut mixture cool a bit, but keep stirring often, so it doesn’t harden up on you.
- Scoop. Add scoops of the caramel nut mixture to wax paper a couple inches apart, then refrigerate.
- Melt chocolate. I typically do this in the microwave.
- Top and harden. Top the nut clusters with a spoonful of white chocolate, then refrigerate again until hardened and set.
This recipe was developed and tested using store-bought caramel bits. The wrapped Kraft caramels will also work. I haven’t tested any other types of caramel, so trying other types isn’t recommended.
Variations of this recipe
- Nuts – I love the combination of peanuts and cashews, but feel free to try using all peanuts, all cashews, almonds, pecans, or any combination of your favorite nuts.
- Caramel – in place of the caramel bits, you could try using Kraft cellophane-wrapped caramels (you’ll want 22 oz).
- White chocolate – I love the ease of using white chocolate wafers, but you can use white chocolate chips (I recommend adding a drizzle of vegetable oil for easy melting), or white almond bark.
- Alternate chocolate types – while the candy won’t resemble polar bear paws, another delicious option is to use milk or dark chocolate.
- Drizzle – for extra flavor, try drizzling the candies with dark chocolate, or festive colored candy melts.
- Sprinkles – a bit of some holiday sprinkles adds a fun festive flair to these candies.
I didn’t actually come up with the name for these, but in general they’re called polar bear paws because the shape and color resemble the arctic bear’s paws.
Not technically, as this version has both peanuts and cashews. But See’s Candies makes Polar Bear Paws that you can purchase (that only have peanuts). They’re delicious, but a bit on the pricey side, so this is a semi-copycat version you can make at home for cheaper (and probably get more!).
Making homemade candy ahead of time
Candy like these nut clusters are great to make ahead of time since the have to set up anyway.
And they last for several weeks, so you can go ahead and get your holiday “baking” done early!
Candy should be refrigerated in an airtight container and enjoyed within 3 weeks.
Alternately, the candy can be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry, place for the same amount of time.
Polar bear paws can be frozen for longer storage! Add hardened and set candies to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 6 months.
Cookie scoops are the most versatile kitchen tool… you can use them for cookies, candies, meatballs, ice cream, and more! This scoop is the exact size you’ll need for this candy recipe!
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 22 oz caramel bits we use 2 (11 oz each) bags of Kraft brand caramel bits
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup salted cocktail peanuts
- 1 cup cashew halves
- 20 – 30 oz white chocolate wafers I use Ghirardelli brand
- Line several large baking sheets with wax or parchment paper, then set aside.
Make caramel mixture
- In a medium saucepan, add caramel bits, heavy cream, and butter. Heat over LOW heat, and stir occasionally until everything is all melted together.
- Once melted, add salt and vanilla and stir to combine.
Stir in nuts and cool a bit
- Stir in peanuts and cashews, then remove from the heat and let cool for 15-25 minutes, stirring about every 5 minutes, so the mixture doesn’t harden.
- Scoop out the peanut mixture in 1/2 Tbsp portions, about 2 inches apart.
- Place baking sheets in the refrigerator or freezer for about 15-20 minutes, until set.
- Add wafers to a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave at 50% power in 20-30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until melted and smooth.
Cover and chill
- Pour a spoonful of melted white chocolate over the top of each nut cluster, then place back in the refrigerator or freezer for another 15-20 minutes, or until set.
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- This recipe should yield about 60-70 candies.
- If you’d like a smaller batch, this recipe is easily halved. Just make sure to halve all the ingredients.
The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.