salted peanut - caramel clusters

peanuts. caramel. chocolate.  these salted peanut - caramel clusters have it all - yet are made entirely from simple, whole food ingredients!  they are a treat you can feel good about, any time of day.

helena & i bake all the time, but when it comes to making candy... not so much. candy-making can definitely be intimidating, especially when so many recipes call for special equipment - thermometers to monitor the temperature of ingredients, molds, peculiar ingredients.  things that most people just don't have lying around in the pantry.  luckily, these salted peanut - caramel clusters (and most candy recipes that use chocolate! woot woot!) don't use fancy ingredients or equipment.  a blender and a bowl are all it takes!  so when that candy-craving hits and the ingredients are simple and close at hand, why not make some at home?  

homemade candy is incredibly satisfying.  there's something special about taking inspiration from a treat that you see in a store and re-creating it using good ingredients - especially when the result is far and away better than the original!

such is the case with these salted peanut - caramel clusters. the combination of peanuts, caramel & chocolate is everywhere in the candy world and with good reason - i mean, who doesn't love salty, sweet & chocolate? so when helena & i set out to make some candy at home, that flavor combo immediately came to mind, and these salted peanut - caramel clusters are the (delicious) result.

these tasty little treats hit the flavor mark on every level - a bit of salt from the peanuts to balance the deep sweetness of the date caramel.  creamy milk chocolate to contrast the richness of the dark chocolate.  salt, sweet, peanuts & chocolate in every bite. 

sticky & sweet, these salted peanut - caramel clusters are healthy enough for everyday snacking - an easy to make, feel-good treat perfect for the whole family! homemade candy for the win!

recipe: salted peanut - caramel clusters

yields: 8 clusters

ingredients:

  • pinch salt
  • scant 1/8 tsp vanilla - a small splash
  • 1/2 milk chocolate chips
  • 1 c semi-sweet (dark) chocolate chips
  • generous 1/2 c + 1 Tbsp roasted, salted peanuts
  • 1 c (pitted) dates

method:

  1. line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper & set aside
  2. soak the dates in warm water for 10 minutes - you want them to be as sticky as possible!
  3. in a high speed blender (or food processor), combine the dates,  and a splash (roughly 1 - 2 Tbsp) of the soaking liquid.
  4. process until the dates have broken down into a paste.  add a pinch of salt and the vanilla.
  5. continue to process until the dates are smooth - congratulations!  you've just made date caramel!
  6. transfer to a bowl & set aside.
  7. in a separate bowl, combine the peanuts and 1/2 of the date caramel
  8. roll the mixture into balls - about 1 Tbsp each - & set on the prepared baking sheet
  9. freeze for 30 minutes
  10. when the clusters have been in the freezer for 25 minutes, heat the chocolate chips in a microwave safe dish for 30 seconds.  remove, stir & heat for 15 seconds.  repeat the process until the chocolate chips are nearly all melted, then quickly stir, stir, stir until they are glossy and completely smooth.
  11. remove the peanut-caramel clusters from the freezer and, using a fork - or your hands -  carefully dip the  balls in the melted dark chocolate so the bottom is completely coated. 
  12. return to the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining clusters.
  13. drizzle the milk chocolate over the clusters, and top with a roasted, salted peanut
  14. return pan to the freezer for at least 30 minutes or until the chocolate is completely set
  15. remove from freezer & enjoy! 

note: store leftovers (if there are any!) in the fridge or freezer :)

xoxo,

s & h