This is nuts! Who would have thought March 8 is National Peanut Cluster Day? Of course, America certainly deserves a national holiday celebrating the sweet and salty mix of peanuts and chocolate, brought together to create the delicious concoction we now know as the peanut cluster. All it takes is unsalted peanuts wrapped in melted chocolate. Easy to make and quick to please, peanut clusters satisfy even the toughest craving, which can be satisfied at home, from preparation to table in less than 40 minutes. There are many recipes, most of which are fairly simple. [photo via hersheys.com]
The following recipe comes straight out of the kitchens of Hershey’s and will prove to be easy, affordable, and incredibly delightful. This recipe is great for beginners and will take approximately 8 minutes to prepare and has 30 minutes cooling time.
1/2 cup Hershey’s milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup Hershey’s Special Dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon shortening (Do NOT substitute butter, margarine, spread, or oil)
1 cup unsalted, roasted peanuts (For another variety, substitute or add raisins)
Place chocolate chips and shortening into a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at medium power (50%) for 1 minute and stir. If necessary, microwave at medium power for an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each time, until chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth when stirred. Stir in the peanuts until they are coated.
Drop teaspoons full into 1-inch diameter candy or petit four papers. Refrigerate about 30 minutes, or until firm. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.
For other variations, substitute caramel chips (which will not melt quite like chocolate), or toffee bits, for the dark chocolate or semi-sweet chips. If you lack candy or petit four papers, line a cookie sheet with wax paper and drop teaspoons full of the chocolate and peanut mixture onto the lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate 30 minutes, or until firm.
So get ready to gather some chocolate and peanuts and get to work whipping up a batch of delicious peanut clusters for the family, friends. Or to hoard for yourself. Either way, celebrate National Peanut Cluster Day the way it should be celebrated–full of chocolaty, peanuty goodness!