My Own Candy Store
When I enter a candy store, I find myself feeling very torn. I know I am going to buy something with dark chocolate; that is an easy decision for me. The problem is what I want combined with my chocolate.
An obvious go-to selection is peanut butter, yet marzipan is also a favorite as well as chocolate covered nuts.
A couple of weeks ago, I was home and had a craving for candy, but the weather was not great and running out to the store was not an acceptable option. I did what I always do in those situations: I made my own.
Since Buckeyes were recently made and I still had some of them in my freezer, I decided it was time for something different. I usually have a well stocked freezer, at least as far as nuts are concerned. The standard choice would have been either cashews or almonds, but that sounded commonplace at that particular moment.
Instead I toasted raw macadamia nuts and raw almonds (separately) and combined them with unsalted, roasted pistachios that I also had in the freezer. After melting my chocolate I stirred in the nuts and scooped them onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
I had kosher salt and fine sea salt in my cupboard and experimented with these two salts over the clusters as well as leaving some of them plain. What I preferred were the clusters topped with the kosher salt. There is always the option of buying roasted, salted nuts, but I like to control the amount of salt I use and if I use nuts that are already salted, I do not have this option. Additionally, I like the salt over the top rather than throughout the chocolate.
I am not a salt aficionado, so I went into Sur La Table to get help. I was not disappointed. I saw a very pretty Pink Himalayan Salt and wondered if it would be tasty with my nut clusters. After explaining to the salesperson, Lisa, what my goal was, she found a grater so that I could taste it.
I am so glad that Lisa did this. After I tasted the salt, I realized that the Himalayan salt is more on the savory side. Not what I want for my Triple Nut Clusters. For me the winner is kosher salt because of its size and taste.
I hope you select the salt you want (or skip the salt if that is your preference.) You can also play around with the chocolate. I am a die-hard dark chocolate lover, so you will see a recurring theme when I bake and make candy. If your ‘gotta have’ chocolate is milk or white, go for it. That’s why I don’t have to go out once I turn my kitchen into my very own candy store and neither do you.
|Triple Nut Clusters|| || |
- 1½ cups roasted unsalted pistachios
- 1½ cups macadamia nuts, toasted
- 1½ cups whole almonds, toasted
- 4¼ cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
- Kosher salt
- For the clusters:
- Line a baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine the pistachios, macadamia nuts and almonds together. Set aside.
- Melt 4 cups of chocolate in a microwave or on the stove. Off the heat, add ¼ cup chocolate chips and stir until melted. Add all of the nuts and stir until completely coated.
- Use a small cookie dough scoop (or 1½ teaspoon measuring spoon) to scoop the clusters onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the top of each cluster with kosher salt. Place in the refrigerator or freezer to set.
- Betsy's tidbits:
- I buy unsalted raw macadamia nuts and raw almonds and toast them in a 325° oven for about 8-10 minutes, watching them carefully. I buy shelled roasted and unsalted pistachios.
- I do not use salted nuts in Triple Nut Clusters as I want to control the amount of salt in them.
- The clusters may be as large or small as you like.
- I prefer the size and taste of kosher salt. Feel free to experiment with your favorite salt when topping the clusters.