I'm baaack! Still not fully unpacked, but I had to hit the kitchen anyway.
True confession..... I hate making ugly food. I love when food looks beautiful. Yes - taste is the most important thing, but honestly, there's something about creating food that looks pretty or beautiful...... before you devour it. I gotta get over it.
These tasty little candies are not pretty. I have some ideas about making them a little sweeter to the eye, maybe making them in candy molds, or adding a little drizzle of white chocolate, but for now they are what they are.
DAY 2: OK - made them smaller and dressed them up with White Chocolate. Better.
Several of you have had them recently, and I've been asked for the recipe - so here it is. This recipe is from the Food Network website - but I've simplified the instructions somewhat. Only three ingredients, and they are really easy (and somewhat messy) to make. Oh - and No Added Sugar - always a plus!
When making chocolate candies, you really want to use the best quality chocolate you can afford. All chocolate is not created equal. If you can't afford Sharffen Berger or Valrhona Chocolate, Ghirardelli is a good alternative. Lately, I've been using Trader Joe's brand called PoundsPlus (wonder what that means??? LOL). It's 72% Dark Chocolate, imported from Belgium, and tastes great.
Cherry Almond Chocolate Clusters
- 1 cup coarsely chopped roasted almonds (see instructions below)
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dry cherries
- 6 oz. Dark Chocolate
Set out parchment paper or wax paper on two trays (I use sheet pans).
- Chop the chocolate into small pieces and melt it slowly in the top of a double boiler (I just put a bowl over a pot of simmering water)
- Mix together the chopped nuts and chopped dried cherries.
- When melted, remove the chocolate from the heat. Mix the nut-cherry mix into the chocolate and blend together completely with a rubber spatula or spoon.
- Spoon out heaping tablespoons of the chocolate into mounds onto the parchment paper (I use a cookie scoop). You may have to shape them slightly with your hands (that's the messy part).
- When ALL of the chocolates have been scooped, and not a moment before, lick your fingers :-)
- Place the pans in the refrigerator to set for about 20 minutes or so
- Option: Melt some good quality white chocolate and drizzle over the top of the cold chocolates. Return them to the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes to set.
That's it! They are ready to eat! These will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days (if they last that long and it's not 100 degrees outside). I have also found that they freeze very well, much to my surprise. I place one or two in a small plastic snack-size bag, and then put the small bags into a freezer bag (make sure to get all the air out before closing the freezer bag) and pop them into the freezer.
Dry Roasting Almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Line a baking pan with parchment paper or foil
- Spread out nuts in a single layer
- Bake for 8 - 10 minutes
- Remove from oven and carefully grab corners of the paper and lift the nuts out, placing on cooling rack.