While in the
area visiting relatives last week, I
went on my first excursion to Trader Joe’s!
Since we were traveling by plane only a couple days later, I could
really only peruse the store instead of filling a cart to my heart’s delight.
But since we needed road snacks, I did snag a bag of Dark Chocolate Nutty Bits. Detroit
Can we say delicious? These yummy snacks boast a mixture of nuts coated in toffee, dipped in dark chocolate, and sprinkled with Fleur de Sel. You really can’t go wrong with this one!
Since I do not see a Trader Joe’s coming to my area anytime in the foreseeable future, I decided to make my own version of the delightful treats as soon as I got home! And since they are sweet, they are this week’s 12 Week’s of Christmas Treats!
I used a version of my personal Christmas favorite, Almond Roca, to coat the nuts. And while these aren’t a traditional Christmas treat by any means, I think a package of these along with a bottle of Homemade Vanilla Extract is the perfect gift for all of those hard to buy for people!
*I used Planter’s Deluxe Mixed Nuts in this recipe, containing cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, pecans, and pistachios
*If using a glass top stove, be careful that no molten candy comes in contact with the glass top, as this can crack the glass.
*Use a good quality dark chocolate. I mixed 4 oz Semi Sweet Baker’s Chocolate (54% cacao) and 1 ½ oz Lindt Extra Dark Chocolate (85% cacao)
*You don’t have to temper the chocolate, but the smooth, shiny chocolate does add a nice touch.
Dark Chocolate Toffee-Nut Clusters
An Amy’s Cooking Adventures Original Recipe
2 cups mixed nuts (see recipe notes)
4 oz, by weight, unsalted butter
4 oz, by weight, granulated sugar
1 ½ tbsp water
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp vanilla extract
5-6 oz dark chocolate (see recipe notes)
Pinch of sea salt
Place the nuts in a small food processor and pulse 3-4 times to coarsely chop the nuts. Place the nuts into a large heat proof bowl and set aside near the stove.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat and place near the stove.
Place the butter into a small saucepan over medium heat to melt.
Once the butter is melted, add the sugar, water, and salt and stir to combine. Clip a candy thermometer securely to the side of the pan, immersed in the liquid, but not touching the bottom. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Cook over medium to medium high heat (this will vary from stove to stove). Stir the mixture gently until the candy thermometer reaches 298 degrees F.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla (it will sizzle a bit) until completely combined.
Drizzle the candy into the bowl of nuts, stirring to evenly coat the nuts.
Moving quickly, before the candy sets, pour the nut mixture onto the prepared pan.
Using a spoon or your fingers (careful this is still very hot!), separate the toffee coated nuts into bite sized pieces. Cool completely.
Melt ¾ of the chocolate in a double boiler, stirring until smooth. Remove the top bowl and stir in the remaining chocolate until smooth. Set the chocolate aside to cool to 80 degrees F. Return the top bowl to the double boiler and heat the chocolate between 88 and 91 degrees (watch carefully, this goes lightning fast!)
Remove the top bowl from the double boiler. Dip the bottoms of the nut clusters into the tempered chocolate and set back onto the lined baking sheet to set. After each 3-4 dipped nut clusters, sprinkle lightly with sea salt (while the chocolate is still wet).
Allow the chocolate to set and store in an airtight container.