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1. Line a baking sheet or tray with foil or parchment paper; grease the foil or parchment. For each cluster, arrange 5 pecan halves in a single-layer close together.
2. In a small heavy saucepan combine vanilla caramels and milk. Heat and stir over medium-low heat until caramels melt and mixture is smooth. Spoon some of the caramel mixture over each cluster of pecans. Let stand about 30 minutes or until firm.
3. In a medium heavy saucepan heat and stir the dark chocolate pieces over low heat until chocolate melts and is smooth. Remove 1/4 cup of the melted chocolate; set aside. Spoon some of the remaining melted chocolate over each cluster, gently spreading to the edges. Let clusters stand about 30 minutes or until set (if necessary, chill for 5 to 10 minutes).
4. Meanwhile, if desired, in a small microwave-safe bowl combine white chocolate and shortening. Microwave, uncovered, on 100 percent power (high) about 1 minute or until chocolate melts and is smooth, stirring every 30 seconds. Spread some of the white chocolate over the top of each cluster. Pour reserved melted chocolate into a small resealable plastic bag. Snip off a very small piece from one corner. Use bag to drizzle chocolate over the top of each cluster. If desired, sprinkle each cluster with coarse sea salt. Let stand until set. Place cluster in tin; close tin.