You know that show Chopped on Food Network, where they get a mystery basket of things and they have to cook something with all the items in the basket? Well, I feel like I’m on that show when my baking staff messes something up. Whenever they screw up, like add a wrong ingredient, the wrong amount or anything like that I tell them to save it - not just throw it away. I really hate wasting food. So they save it, write down exactly what’s inside and this is considered my mystery basket. I will take a look and develop a recipe with those things in it, so it doesn’t get wasted. And the recipe becomes a special of the day and it also usually makes its way here to the blog.
Last week, one of our new Assistant Baker’s messed up the Kitchen Sink Bark. She was gathering all the ingredients to add to the dark chocolate and she put in pecans instead of peanuts. So the other ingredients were contaminated by the pecans, because we take allergies very seriously here at Dessert’D. So this was considered a mess up that left me with a jar of dried cranberries, almonds and pecans. Thea and I were trying to come up with something to do with this mix. We were saying how this mix seemed like great Fall flavors. She said even if I didn’t think of something she’d eat it as Trail Mix (as long as she could add white chocolate to it). And, that’s when I thought to make chocolate clusters. Because those are basically Trail Mix on crack. So, here we are now with Cranberry Clusters. They are dried cranberries, almonds and pecans and covered in white chocolate. We even dipped the bottoms in milk chocolate to make them look a little fancy. You could box these up and give them as gifts this Holiday season. That would make a great hostess gift. And they would even be a great addition to any Thanksgiving dinner!
Cranberry Clusters | Makes 20-24
- 142 grams (heaping 1 cup) organic dried cranberries
- 90 grams (2/3 cup) organic blanched slivered almonds
- 170 grams (1 1/3 cups) organic pecans
- 15 ounces (1 1/2 cups) organic white chocolate chips
- 6 ounces (heaping 1 cup) organic milk chocolate chunks
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
Chop pecans roughly, so they are at least cut in half.
Add the pecans, almonds and cranberries to a bowl and mix to combine completely. Set aside.
In a double boiler, add three quarters of the white chocolate and melt until it reaches about 100 degrees on a thermometer. Remove from heat and immediately add in the remaining white chocolate and stir to combine completely.
Allow chocolate to come down to 89-91 degrees. Add in the nut mixture to the white chocolate and stir with a spatula to combine completely.
Using a flatware spoon (for size), just drop clusters onto the parchment paper. If they try to spread out just push them back together to form a little lump.
Place baking sheets in the freezer once all clusters are on them.
In a double boiler, add three quarters of the milk chocolate. Melt until it reaches 110 degrees on a thermometer. Remove from heat and add remaining milk chocolate and stir to combine completely. Allow temperature to come down to 89-91 degrees.
Remove the baking sheets from the freezer and dip the bottoms into the milk chocolate. Place bottom side down back on the parchment paper.
Place the baking sheets back in the freezer to set for 1 hour.
Wrap up in cute boxes or tins as gifts for the Holidays! Or store in a cool dry place or in the fridge.
Vegan– Make these vegan by substituting the organic white chocolate for organic dark chocolate instead, and skip the milk chocolate step. You could sprinkle fine shredded coconut on top of the this version instead.
High Altitude– Follow the recipe exactly as noted!