Recipe: 5 Ways to Make Chocolate Clusters

 Chocolate Clusters

This is one of my favorite treats.  As long as I can remember my grandma would make these every Christmas.  I was so excited to eat them and I always knew she would make them for us.   Everyone will love these and they are so easy to make.  I’ve added photos and recipes of different variations of this recipe.

 

Recipe #1 – Peanut & Chow Mein:

cluster

 

Ingredients:

2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
2 cups butterscotch chips
2 & 1/2 cups of salted peanuts
4 cups of chow mein noodles

 

 

Directions:

1.         Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips in a glass or ceramic bowl in the microwave or you can melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Please ask an adult to help you use the microwave or stove top.

2.         Remove from heat and stir in the peanuts.  Stir in the noodles and make sure everything is well coated.

3.         Drop by the spoonful onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Chill until set, about 1 hour. Enjoy! Makes about 24 treats.

Recipe #2 – Peanut Only:

cluster

Ingredients:

1 (12 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 (12 ounce) package peanut butter chips

12 ounces raw Spanish peanuts

Directions:

  1. Combine chocolate chips and peanut butter chips in top of double boiler. Stir frequently over low to medium heat until melted; add peanuts and stir.
  2. Drop by teaspoon full on wax paper. Allow to cool.

 

Recipe #3 – Peanut & Pretzels:

bc94f9c3e8b12ba8_ChocolateClusterMainIngredients

1/3 cup honey
1 cup sugar
(splash of water)
1/3 cup whole milk
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups (1 pound) dark chocolate, such as Guittard 72% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate, tempered
1 medium-size bag of pretzels, broken up into small pieces
Coarse sea salt (optional)

Directions

  1. Fill a saucepan with a few inches of water, and bring to a boil. Create a double boiler using a metal bowl that completely covers the rim of the sauce pan. Be sure that the bottom of the metal bowl does not touch the water. Pour chocolate into a metal bowl and stir gently using a rubber spatula.
  2. Test the tempered chocolate by coating the back of a spoon and allowing it to set up on a piece of wax paper. The chocolate is tempered properly if it is shiny, dark, and smooth. You will have to try again if the chocolate looks dull or has white streaks.
  3. Line sheet trays with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.
  4. Stir in pretzel pieces until they are immersed in chocolate.
  5. Using two spoons, quickly scoop 1 1/2- to 2-inch clusters and place them on lined sheet trays. Sprinkle course sea salt over clusters from a high distance to evenly distribute. Allow clusters to fully set up before eating. Store in an airtight container in room temperature.

Recipe #4 – Salted Peanut Caramel Clusters:

18282_1348681459_0Ingredients:

Clusters:

  • 2 ½ cups salted peanuts
  • 1 cup of homemade caramel sauce (recipe follows)
  • 2 cups of chopped chocolate, melted
    Homemade Caramel Sauce:
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 4 tablespoons water
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 10 tablespoons of heavy cream
    • ½ teaspoons of kosher salt

Instructions:

Clusters:

  1. Mix peanuts with caramel sauce. Scoop out one measured tablespoon onto the parchment. Freeze salted peanut caramel clusters for 30 minutes.
  2. Place chocolate in a heat proof bowl and set over (not on) simmering water and heat until melted.
  3. Remove salted peanut caramel clusters from freezer and dip in melted chocolate and then place on parchment paper to rest until chocolate has harden.

Homemade Caramel Sauce:

Add sugar and water into a saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Use a wet brush to remove any crystals that form on the side. Once sugar has dissolved increase heat to high. Now and then, using the handle give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving. Do not stir the mixture directly. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute. As the mixture darkens to a medium amber color, approximately 5-7 minutes, add the butter and cream to saucepan. The mixture will bubble wildly. Whisk to combine (bubbles will subside upon cooling). Add salt and stir to combine.

 

Recipe # 5 – Cornflakes:

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Ingredients:

4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
2 cup cornflakes cereal

Directions:

1. Put the chocolate chips and peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes, stir to melt the chocolate and peanut butter.

2. Add in the cornflakes, stir to mix well with the chocolate.

3. Scoop with a cookie scoop and drop on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate until harden, about 10-15 minutes.

4. Store in a air-tight container in refrigerator.


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