This recipe for easy-to-make chocolate clusters has only four ingredients and can be adapted to your own tastes. Can't have nuts? You can leave them out or add in another item such as raisins or coconut.
Patch contributing writer Sarah Page Kyrcz, who recently gave us her recipe for Irish Soda Bread, said she's seen a similar recipe shaped into little bird's nests and filled with goodies such as jelly beans for Easter. That's a great idea!
It's a kid-friendly recipe, too. If an adult takes care of melting the chocolate and toasting the almonds, the kids can form the clusters.
Nutty Chocolate Clusters
Makes about 24, depending upon size
8 ounces of chocolate, any kind (dark, milk), cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
2 cups pretzel sticks, broken in half (measured after halved)
In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate on high for one minute. Remove from microwave and stir. Microwave for about 15 seconds more, stir until melted. Do this in increments until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a dry frying pan, carefully toast almonds on medium heat stirring constantly. They should be uniformly light brown, not dark brown. Remove them from pan (otherwise they will continue to cook) and place on a paper towel or paper plate to cool.
Add cranberries, cooled almonds and pretzel pieces to the melted chocolate. Stir well with a rubber spatula until everything is coated.
Using two soup spoons, drop clusters of the mixture onto wax paper-lined cookie sheets, shaping into a mound. Place cookie sheets in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes or until clusters are set. Once they have set, you can stack them in an air-tight container and keep in the refrigerator or in a cool spot.
Adapted from a recipe found in Family Circle magazine.