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Candy Raisin Nut Chocolate Clusters - How to Make these Tasty Treats
Raisin Nut Chocolate Clusters
This is an easy and very versatile recipe for a great treat. You get the great combination of chocolate and raisins, or chocolate and nuts, or both. You can adjust it to what you like or what you have on hand. Around the holidays, or any time really, you can put these into little paper cups and give as gifts to neighbors, family and friends. They make great little gifts for the teacher, or music instructor or coach in your life. I like how easy they are, but the incredible flavor they have.
Raisin Nut Chocolate Clusters
You will need about 7 cups of your favorite cooking chocolate. You can use chocolate chips or finer chocolate if you like. Darker chocolate has a richer look to it, but milk chocolate is creamier and tasty as well.
One cup of raisins, regular or golden raisins work well. A combination is nice
One cup of peanuts (from the bakery section, unsalted is best not cocktail or roasted)
One cup of pecans, my favorite
One cup of hazelnuts
One cup of Walnuts
Dash of Cinnamon
Dash of Cayenne Pepper
Optional: One bag of peanut butter chips, or butterscotch chips. This definitely adds more flavors, and I like the simplicity of the flavors of the nuts and raisins myself. Also optional, flaked coconut
I don't have all the nuts on hand usually, and like to use maybe two different kinds of nuts. Even just the peanuts and raisins make a great treat. Mix and match and make it your own.
Directions for Raisin Nut Chocolate Clusters
To start, have ready some cookie sheets, that are lined with parchment paper. Set aside. I like to make smaller clusters, as I can give more away, and they seem more like candy sized treats to me. Some people like to make larger ones though, and its totally up to you and your preference and need.
In a double broiler, very slowly heat your chocolate, cinnamon and cayenne. The less humidity in the air, the better, and avoid steam. Hot water and patience works best. Another good tip is to not have the water inside the double broiler touching the bottom of the pan of chocolate.
During the melting process, combine your choice of nuts and raisins together in a big bowl.
When the chocolate is smooth and melted, pour in the nut and raisin mixture, and gently stir until all of it is coated with chocolate. Simply take a spoon and drop clusters of this mixture onto your parchment paper covered trays or cookie sheets. At this point, you can kind of push the cluster down, so its more flat, or you can leave it in a clump. Different looks, same fun candies. You can put these trays into the refrigerator to harden.
A nice presentation is in a little tin, if you are giving as a gift, or just a pretty paper plate covered with cellophane or plastic wrap. If you put them into little paper wrappers, it has a really nice effect, but is not necessary. Some people like to wrap them up individually, and tie a little ribbon around.
Store in an airtight container to keep freshest longest.
When its Christmas, you can add broken up pieces of peppermint, and just add that to the chocolate for a chocolate peppermint cluster.
Whatever you do, have fun, put the music on as you make these, and enjoy your chocolates.