Monday, March 23, 2009
Almond and Chocolate Clusters
Yield: 24 clusters
1/2 cup (about 3 ounces) toasted slivered almonds
24 individually wrapped caramel candies (about 6 ounces)
1 cup (about 6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips
4 to 6 tablespoons cream, room temperature, divided
1 cup (about 6 ounces) white chocolate chips
Special equipment: 2 mini muffin tins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease the mini-muffin tins with vegetable oil spray. Place 1 teaspoon of slivered nuts in each of the muffin cups. Unwrap the caramel candies, cut each candy into quarters and place 4 quarters (1 candy) in each of the muffin cups on top of the nuts in a single layer. Bake in the oven until the caramel is just melted and beginning to spread, about 8 minutes. Be careful not to over melt the caramel or it will bubble, burn, and become too hard. Place the mini muffin tins in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to cool. Remove the nut clusters from the tins and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler over low heat. Wisk 2 to 3 tablespoons of cream into the chocolate to slightly thin the chocolate for coating the clusters. Dip half of the nut clusters in the bittersweet chocolate and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Return the clusters to the refrigerator to harden, about 30 minutes.
Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler over low heat. Wisk 2 to 3 tablespoons of cream into the chocolate to slightly thin the chocolate for coating the clusters. Dip remaining half of the nut clusters in the white chocolate and place on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet with the other chocolate-covered clusters. Return the clusters to the refrigerator to harden, about 30 minutes.