Saturday, February 11, 2012

Chocolate Cherry Almond Clusters

I've found several different recipes to make almond clusters and I modified and blended a couple of them to make them the way that I would like to eat them.  Most of the recipes required chopping the almonds, but one of my favorite parts of eating nut clusters is getting the "whole nut" experience and I think they absolutely must be roasted or toasted to bring out the nutty flavor. Some also required using a double boiler to melt the chocolate which made it take 20 minutes or more instead of the 5 minutes it takes to make these.

This recipe has only 3 ingredients....two of them are my absolute favorite too; dark chocolate and roasted almonds; the third ingredient is dried cherries (you could omit the dried fruit altogether or substitute dried cranberries or any other favorite dried fruit).  I purposely used the "low sodium" roasted almonds to add just a touch of saltiness to the is a nice combination to balance the sweetness of the chocolate and the tartness of the sort of tickles all your taste buds at the same time.

These are so quick and easy to make and I think they'd make perfect Valentine's Day chocolates to give your "special someone".  By making them yourself, it makes them even that much more out Russell Stover...we can make our own candy now that is just as good, if not better, than yours!  Personally, I only like the "nut cluster" candies anyway...I've never been a fan of all that "candy goo" in most of the assortments that you buy.  I am embarrassed to admit that I am one of those annoying peeps that pokes their finger into them first to see what's inside and then puts them back because 90% of the time it isn't what I like or want inside, I end up with a box full of smooshed candies that nobody else wants to eat either!  ;-)  Check out a few pics below as well as the very simple recipe to follow!  Enjoy!

Chocolate chips, roasted almonds, dried cherries.
Melt chocolate chips in microwave, stir until smooth.
Stir in almonds and chopped dried cherries.

Drop by tablespoons onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet & chill.
Ready to be devoured...Happy Valentine's Day to me!  ;-)

Chocolate Cherry Almond Cluster Recipe 


1 10-oz bag 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
1-1/2 cups roasted lightly salted almonds
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries


In a medium microwave safe bowl, pour approximately 1/2 of the chocolate chips in the bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, stir; continue to microwave in 10-15 second intervals; stirring, just until melted (approximately 1-1/2 minutes total).  Once melted, add the rest of the chocolate chips, mixing until completely melted (you may have to microwave an additional 20-30 seconds to melt thoroughly), and stir frequently until melted and smooth.  Add almonds and cherries and stir until totally coated and combined.  Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet.  Place cookie sheet in refrigerator for about 15 minutes until set.  Take out.....and ENJOY!

*Tip:  You could use any kind of nut in place of the almonds to make these nut clusters.  You could also substitute different dried fruit or omit it altogether.  If you prefer a sweeter candy, substitute milk chocolate chips.  If you want to make a rocky road type of candy, you could stir mini marshmallows into the mixture; you could add toasted coconut.  Play around with it and make them entirely YOURS!

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