|Dark Chocolate Almond & Toffee Cluster|
In August I went back to work full time since becoming a mom seventeen years ago. I’d worked part time for about 12 years, but full time teaching requires a LOT more time than part-time. Makes sense.
At any rate, I’ve not had the time, energy, or inclination to blog very much lately. I mostly blog just to keep the recipes I do make/write in a location where I can access them easily. The fact that other people still use my blog and that I still make about $30 a month via AdSense is just icing on the cake.
So today was my first snow day as a full time teacher, and I have to say, it’s been awesome. I woke up at my usual 5:00 AM and went through my morning routine, pretty much expecting a snow day to be called—which it was.
I went back to bed and slept a couple more hours, made pancakes for breakfast, focaccia for future lunches, worked on some actual work on the computer, and made these chocolate almond clusters.
Yes, it’s been a great day.
After I posted a pic of these on Instagram, a friend said she’d like to see the recipe on my blog. I don't know if she realized how involved I'd make the recipe...
Well, it’s a throw-together kind of recipe, and I’m the crazy person who has homemade toffee and the other ingredients on-hand, so what you see below may not be super accurate.
But considering the fact that the three ingredients are chocolate, almonds, and toffee, whatever you end up with will likely be delicious no matter what.
If you prefer milk chocolate to dark, you can use that. Just be aware that if you’ve never tempered chocolate before, milk chocolate is a little fussier than dark.
So here you go, Mindy. I know you're going to get going on making these immediately.
Dark Chocolate Almond & Toffee Clusters
- 1 bag (8.87 ounces) Dove Dark Chocolate Promises, unwrapped
- 1 ½ cups roasted unsalted almonds
- 1/3 cup toffee bits (packaged or homemade—see *recipe below)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper and set aside.
- Put a medium pot half filled with water over a medium flame, and bring the water to a simmer.
- Place all but four of the Dove Dark Chocolate Promises in a medium size metal or glass bowl.
- Place the bowl containing the chocolate on top of the simmering water.
- When the chocolate appears about 2/3 melted, remove from the heat and stir with a silicone spatula. Keep stirring until the chocolate is completely melted. If, after 3-4 minutes of stirring, the remaining solid chocolate is still in pretty large chunks, return the bowl to the simmering water and stir over the heat for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Turn the heat off, but leave the pot of water there. You may need it later.
- Remove and continue stirring.
- This is where it gets a little complicated: If the chocolate melted quickly as you stirred it off the heat, and the bowl feels warm, add 3 pieces of the reserved chocolate. If the chocolate melted slowly off the heat, only add 1-2 pieces of the reserved chocolate.
- The idea is to stir until the added chocolate stops melting into the rest of the chocolate. This is how chocolate gets into temper and will have that nice shiny exterior after it solidifies. Plus, it won’t melt immediately when you touch it, and it will have more of a snap when you bite into it. This is what you want.
- When chocolate is in temper, and the added chocolate is still a chunk, remove the chunk to the prepared parchment/wax paper. You can eat it later.
- Add the almonds and toffee; stir with silicone spatula to incorporate.
- Using a small spoon, scoop out 2-3 almonds at a time. Use the silicone spatula or another spoon to scrape the chocolate and almonds off onto the parchment/wax paper. Repeat until all of the mixture has been used.
- If you’ve tempered your chocolate correctly, about halfway through the scooping and dropping process, the chocolate in the bowl will begin to solidify. Return the bowl to the pot with the hot water and stir until the chocolate is liquefied enough for you to continue scooping and dropping. Repeat as needed if chocolate firms up in the bowl.
- Allow clusters to set before eating. If the chocolate has been tempered well, this should only take about 10-20 minutes.
Makes about 2 ½ cups almond clusters
*English Toffee Bits
- 1/4 cup packed C & H Light Brown Sugar
- 1/2 cup C & H White Sugar
- 1/2 cup butter Directions
1. Line a square Pyrex pan (8X8) with parchment paper or non-stick foil.
2. In a heavy saucepan heat butter and sugar to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil over medium heat until it reaches 300° on a candy thermometer. Pour into prepared pan and evenly spread with a silicone (not rubber) spatula. Allow to cool completely.
3. Break toffee up into big chunks with your hands and then on a clean cutting board, chop into smaller bits. Be sure to taste some to see if it's good.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups of toffee bits. Use the extra to make some toffee chocolate chip cookies or use as an ice cream topping. They'll keep in a zip top bag for a few weeks as long as you keep them in a cool, dry place.