I have so many different kinds and brands of dark chocolate on hand to choose from, but for whatever reason, the Guittard 70% Bittersweet Baking Bars were calling to me. Incidentally, it turned out to be the perfect choice of chocolate for these (it's super smooth and creamy when melted) . I sprinkled a few peanuts in the bottom of each little cup (so my tongue would make contact with the saltiness of the peanuts when biting into them). I then melted the chocolate in the microwave (you could also use a double boiler on the stove). Once the chocolate was melted, I stirred in the salted peanuts and used a teaspoon to spoon the melted chocolate and peanut concoction evenly into each little cup. I popped the tray into the fridge for about 30 minutes so the chocolate would set up. Oh...My...Chocolate; these were so good. It tasted like peanut butter cups because of the salty peanuts contrasting with the sweetness of the chocolate...only this was way better. If you belong to Costco...look for these peanuts. They are huge and are the crunchiest peanuts I have ever had. They contain only 2 ingredients; peanuts and salt. You can also find them on Amazon, but are cheaper if you can get them from Costco (or from a friend that belongs to Costco)! This recipe makes 12 "mini-muffin sized" treats. These would be perfect for holiday treats and also make nice little holiday candy gifts (just find festive little paper cups to put them in). I snapped some photos below and included the easy peasy recipe. Enjoy!
|Begin by placing paper cups in a mini-muffin tin, then adding a few peanuts|
|Spoon the melted chocolate and peanut mixture into each cup, then refrigerate|
|Voila...after 30 minutes in the refrigerator, the chocolate has set up|
|BOOM...you are now in Candyland!|
Chocolate Salted Peanut Clusters
4 ounces dark chocolate (I used Guittard 70% cacao baking bars)
3/4 cup roasted salted peanuts
Place 12 mini baking cup liners into the wells of a mini-muffin tin. Sprinkle a few peanuts in the bottom of each cup.
Break up chocolate into small pieces and place in a small bowl. Melt chocolate in the microwave on high in 30 second intervals, stirring after each until melted, about 2 minutes; be careful not to burn (or it can be melted in a double boiler on the stovetop). Stir remaining peanuts into melted chocolate; divide and spoon equally between the 12 baking cups. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until chocolate is set.
*Note: For sugar free clusters, substitute a sugar free chocolate such as Lily's chocolate sweetened with stevia.
What a great recipe! I'll have to look for the Costco peanuts. Usually when it comes to peanuts I can take 'em or leave 'em, but these actually sound irresistible. You're right ... these candies would make nice holiday gifts. Since there's no coconut oil involved, once they're set up there should be no problem with them getting soft and messy before your friends even get them home. :-)
Oh, these are making my mouth water. Looks delicious!!
Thanks. They were really good. We really like them and it makes plain dark chocolate seem so much more special! :-)
These peanuts were particularly nice folded into melted chocolate. They are a bit salty but they are super crunchy. I like to use them to top my chicken stir-fry's for a bit of crunch and saltiness but found them especially good balanced with the sweetness of chocolate (similar to the "salted caramel" craze).
You don't have to put the peanuts on the bottom before pouring the chocolate and peanuts on top like I did. That just helps emphasize the salty/sweet -- they would be great all mixed in with the chocolate. If you find these peanuts, try them tossed on top of stir-fries because that is where I really like them. I generally don't just eat peanuts as is, but hubby likes them that way. :-)
Any nuts will do, salted or not. The salt adds a dimension like you've said, but isn't really necessary. For instance, hazelnuts which are toasted and skins removed are delicious. Walnuts, almonds, etc. are yummy. You can even add some shreds of coconut. This is a very clever use of a chocolate bar!
I have used many different combinations mixed into chocolate (chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried blueberries, coconut, almonds, pecans, pistachios, cherries, etc.). If you check my blog you will find where I have done many, many combinations. I, too, enjoy it without the salt as well but the ying and yang of sweet/salty seems to be quite popular these days and I like to show that it doesn't have to be only "salted caramel" to achieve that (my personal opinion is that it's highly overrated but to each his own). I love transforming a plain chocolate bar into a quick and easy treat! :-)
I really like a few toasted sesame seeds added with the other yummy stuff mentioned. A few cacao nibs are a nice addition, too. Mix 'n' match. :-)
I haven't tried the toasted sesame seeds yet but it sounds great. I need to toss in some cacao nibs as well. I have 2 bags of them and as you know, a little go a long way! Another great way to use them! :-)
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