Friday, January 14, 2005

Chocolate nut clusters

Just something tasty that's very quick. I tried this two ways. The first attempt was using some corn syrup and a little butter along with the chocolate. Seized! Obviously did something wrong and since I'm not sure what, (maybe the order I added the ingredients, or maybe it was steam; I used a big metal bowl over a small saucepan with boiling water-- a do-it-yourself double boiler), the second time I tried what works.

I was aiming for a nice sheen and some snap. Maybe next time.
The second attempt worked just fine.

I had some leftover cashews from an unsalted snack container and some sliced almonds leftover from the cookies I made.

This is easy.

Bake about 2 cups worth of whole (shelled, unsalted) nuts (mixed, on a foil lined baking sheet) for about 5 minutes in a 350°F oven. Stir and check them every other minute or so because nuts burn so quickly. Take them out of the oven when they're very lightly browned (or tanned... too brown makes them bitter).

On the stovetop in a small saucepan (direct, didn't try the double boiler method the second time) melt three quarters of an 11.5oz bag (or all of it if you like) of milk chocolate chips on very low heat. Stir this continuously once the chips start to melt. When all the chips are melted and your chocolate is smooth, take this off the heat. Add the nut mixture and stir well to coat.

Drop by teaspoonfuls on to wax or parchment paper. It's best if this paper is on a cookie sheet that will fit in your refrigerator. Once you've spooned out the chocolate nut clusters, refrigerate until they're set. A few hours or overnight (if like me, this is the last thing you make after several batches of other cookies; it's time to rest then).

I usually put these (types of goodies) in little paper baking cups or arrange them on a dish. Presentation isn't really important because it's chocolate and chocolate never lasts long :)

Also think these taste best when they're room temperature. Store them in the fridge and take them out an hour or so before you want to eat them.

If you can wait that long. Mmmmmmmmmm!

More pictures here and here.


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9:59 AM  
Blogger golfwidow said...

I have found that the best way to keep the cocoa butter from bogging when you melt chocolate is to use your microwave. Thirty seconds on high, stir, then another thirty seconds and stir again (per eleven ounces).

This works on real chocolate and white chocolate (which is technically not chocolate). Bittersweet or 70% dark chocolate might require an additional ten seconds.

The chocolate comes out perfectly tempered and crystallizes very well.

4:17 PM  

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