Peanuts and chocolate are a gorgeous pair. They play well with each other. They are comforting. They hang out well together. To top all of these compatibility perfections, they are simple to combine.
Both are wonderful on their own. Aside from those with allergies to nuts, most people enjoy these lovely legumes. Most people also enjoy chocolate. Bringing the two together is a match made in culinary and confectionary heaven. It’s also mind numbingly simple to pull off, which is a plus for someone like me who enjoys instant gratification where food is concerned.
I’m not sure if this is so much a recipe as it is a method, but for the sake of semantics, we’ll say that it’s something worth learning, especially if you would like to get in to playing with chocolate. I’m sure there are better methods and more advanced recipes for this, and if David Lebovitz can tell me how to keep 60% cacau chocolate from melting the second I touch it, I would be very greatful, as these candies are messy, but so very worth it!
- 1 pound salt-roasted peanuts. (you can use store bought, my recipe, (which was taken from David's recipe) or simply toast them in salt and oil for 30 minutes at 350 degrees as I id this round.)
- 11.5 ounces Chocolate of your choice. I used Ghirardelli 60% cacaou for this batch, but whatever chocolate you like should do just fine.
- Melt your chocolate in a fairly large heat proof bowl. This can be done in the microwave or over a double boiler. I opted for the double boiler method because I'm comfortable with it, but as long as the chocolate is melted, you're in good shape.
- Dump the whole pound of roasted peanuts into the chocolate and stir well to ensure that all the nuts are completely covered.
- Place the chocolate covered nuts in small mounds on either a silicone mat or nonstick foil lined baking sheet or sheets. (I used a Tablespoon, this took one and one-half sheet pans. Smaller clusters will likely require more space.)
- Place in a cool dry place to set up. This does not necessarily have to be the refrigerator just somewhere clean and cool, but I find the fridge to be the best bet. Allow to harden completely.
- Serve at room temperature, with plenty of moist-towelettes.
- Share and enjoy!
What I would have done differently had I thought of it at the time:
First of all, I’d like to find a way to keep the chocolate from melting all over the eater’s fingers as soon as it’s touched. I’m assuming paraffin or shortening might be a start, but I will have to consult with people more knowledgeable than myself before I decide on a solution to this issue.
Secondly… Where do the possibilities end? You could crush the nuts to make the clusters more of a bar with a smoother consistency. Add caramel chunks or fruit or rice puffs or… I have a lot of playing around to do on this one…
Once I’m finished with this batch, that is.
Links to other recipes like this:
- Crock Pot Peanut Clusters, from a Year of Slow Cooking
- Coco Choco Clusters Recipe, from 101 Cookbooks