Studded with dried fruit, nuts and crisp cereal, these orange-scented chocolate clusters make exceptionally easy, irresistible gifts. Melting the chocolate in stages may seem a little picky, but it’s actually a short-cut method for “tempering” chocolate. (Tempering stabilizes the chocolate and prevents a cloudy appearance.)
- 2 oz. coarsely chopped hazelnuts or pistachios (about 1/2 cup)
- 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, divided
- 1 cup puffed whole-grain cereal (rice or mixed grains)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, dried cherries or chopped dried apricots
- 1 tsp. orange zest, plus julienned orange zest for garnish
- Line 2 large baking sheets with wax paper.
- Toast nuts in dry skillet over medium-low heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant, stirring constantly. Transfer to small bowl and cool.
- Melt 9 oz. chocolate in double boiler. Stir remaining 3 oz. chocolate into melted chocolate, in 2 additions, stirring until all chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in toasted nuts, cereal, dried fruit and orange zest.
- Drop chocolate mixture onto prepared baking sheets in tablespoon-size clumps; leave 1 inch between each. Garnish clusters with orange zest. Chill uncovered in refrigerator 10 to 15 minutes, or until set. Transfer clusters to paper candy cups, and store, covered, in refrigerator up to 1 month or in freezer up to 2 months.
- Serving Size: Makes 24 nuggets
- Calories: 97
- Carbohydrate Content: 10 g
- Fat Content: 7 g
- Fiber Content: 1 g
- Protein Content: 1 g
- Saturated Fat Content: 3 g
- Sugar Content: 7 g