Thursday, September 17, 2009

White chocolate, fruit & nut clusters

Today I had a craving for something sweet, so I made up a recipe for some candy just using ingredients I happened to have in my pantry.
I had a handful of almonds, about 1/4 of a bag of white chocolate chips, just leftovers from other baking adventures.
So I sort of threw in everything but the kitchen sink! They came out pretty tasty.

First I decided to candy the almonds, although you could use plain roasted nuts or even raw nuts. That's the beauty of this recipe, just use whatever you have on hand.
Candied almonds INGREDIENTS:
1 cup whole raw almonds
1/2 cup granulated pure cane sugar
2 tablespoons butter
Combine nuts, sugar and butter in heavy skillet. I use a cast iron skillet. Do not use a teflon-coated pan. Some candy-makers believe that sugar melts better in a copper pot, but I've never cooked with copper pots!
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, until nuts are toasted and sugar is golden brown and the consistency of a thick syrup. (about 15 minutes)Sugar should not be grainy.
If you want to test with a water glass, the syrup should be in the hard crack stage.
Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.
Spray a piece of aluminum foil with non-stick spray (like Pam).
Spread the nuts onto the foil in an even layer.
Let the candy cool, then break into 1 or 2 nut clusters.

BE CAREFUL AND USE OVEN MITTS, and wear long sleeves. This molten sugar syrup is HOT and sticky so if some gets on you it is like napalm. It will burn you and take some skin off with it when you peel it off.

Then I melted about 1/4 of a bag of white chocolate chips in the microwave, in a medium size pyrex bowl. I had a few pink candy melts left from Valentines day baking, so I threw them in there too, just to use them up. That's why the color is sort of off-whitish.
To melt chocolate, use a low power setting like 30%. Do it one or two minutes at a time, take out and stir, then nuke it another minute. (at low power)
repeat until the chocolate is melted.

Stir into the melted chocolate:
the chopped-up candied almonds
a couple handfuls of craisins (dried cranberries)
a handful of of Quaker Oatmeal Squares cereal (brown sugar flavor)

Stir it all together until everything is coated in chocolate.
Spread it out on a plate that you sprayed with Pam. (or rub some butter on the plate)
Put the plate in the fridge until the chocolate hardens.
Remove plate from fridge and chop up the candy into chunks.


You can use milk chocolate or dark chocolate instead of white.
You can use any kind of nuts.
You can use raisins, dried cherries, banana chips, any kind of dried fruit.
You can use almost any kinds of breakfast cereal, to add crunch.

This would be good with milk chocolate, peanuts, cheerios and banana chips.
Just look around your pantry for leftover stuff you can mix in!