chocolate almond clusters.

Your dessert for this week is wrapped up in these chocolately little nut clusters.

chocolatealmondcluster (1)

I have to be completely honest, though.

I was a little hesitant in making these at first.

See.  I absolutely love the idea of chocolate bark.  Let’s melt chocolate and trash it up with a bunch of add-ins and call it a completely different dessert.  That is totally up my ally.  And this totally reminds me of that. But, a couple years ago, around the holidays, I purchased some chocolate peppermint bark.  Pretty much my favorite flavor combination along with chocolate and peanut butter, white chocolate and raspberry, and my new obsession: coconut and caramel.

But. It was probably my least favorite dessert.  Or at least the most underwhelming.

What I imagined to be smooth and crunchy, rich and refreshing and sweet and minty just fell flat.  It wasn’t any of that.  It was chocolate with peppermint candies in it.

So, when I saw a candy with just chocolate and almonds, I questioned how good this could possibly be.

But these aren’t bland at all.

They’re a freaking dream.  And are SO easy to make.

However, there are a few necessary steps to make them amazingggg.

Like roasting the nuts.

Roasting the almonds is a must, and usually takes around 15 minutes, which is why most people skip the step and wonder why bother.  Plus, the process can be a bit tricky and the nuts can go from almost done to overdone in less than a minute.  But do it!  It deepens their flavor, making them even more nutty and complex, taking them from good to amazing.  It also gives them a crispier texture, something that is desired in a recipe that has only four ingredients.

And adding sea salt.

Adding salt to chocolate can make chocolate a sweeter-tasting experience.  Since sea salt contains a different combination of minerals than standard table salt, add a pinch on top of the chocolate clusters to add a whole new dimension of flavor.

I pretty much told you half the recipe already.  So, I’m kind of thinking you need to get on making these like right now.


Chocolate Almond Clusters

serves 15

  • 2 c. whole almonds
  • 8 oz. of high quality chocolate, either semi-sweet or bittersweet, coarsely chopped
  • sea salt
  • sanding sugar (or Turbinado sugar)

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread almonds out in a single layer on top.  Toast for 12-15 minutes stirring once mid-way through. Set aside.

Melt the chocolate carefully in the microwave, heating in 30 second intervals, and mixing between each cook until completely melted and smooth.  Or, if you’re worried about burning the chocolate, melt it in a double boiler.

Stir the almonds into the chocolate, making sure to coat each one.  Using a spoon, scoop clusters onto the prepared baking sheet. I made mine with about 15 almonds in each cluster.  Sprinkle the clusters with sea salt and clear sanding sugar (or any coarse sugar, like Turbinado), then place in the refrigerator to completely set.

Store the clusters in the refrigerator.

 

 

 

I’d say they would last up to a month in the refrigerator, but who am I kidding?  These things didn’t even last a week in mine.

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