Dark Chocolate Cayenne Nut Clusters
Where are my spicy lovers? ?
Yeah, that’s not me ? But Ryan loves spicy things so it’s about time we added a little heat around here.
The idea for this recipe was planted in my head almost a year ago. One of our neighbors dropped off chocolate covered chipotle almonds for us to try.
At first, Ryan thought they were pieces of poop that someone put in a ziploc baggie inside our mailbox – but I knew our neighbor was dropping some off for us, so I reassured him that they were not poop ?
I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical at first. I love chocolate just the way it is. But I surprised myself and actually liked the almonds!
It’s a good way to satisfy that chocolate craving, but the additional heat kept me from mindlessly eating the whole bag. Ryan on the other hand… he barely noticed the kick and devoured most of the almonds.
The nice thing about these spicy nut clusters is that you can adjust the amount of spice depending on your preference.
Here’s our recommended spice levels:
Ryan: 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper, at least, maybe 3
Beth: 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper at most
Plus you can taste test the chocolate to spicy ratio while you’re mixing in the cayenne pepper to see if you want more heat.
We decided to use unsalted peanuts, unsalted almonds, and unsalted pecans. But feel free to use whatever nut/nuts you like best.
There is one fancy step to these cayenne nut clusters. Do you see how the clusters turned out shiny in appearance – instead of dull? These sticky paws are a good example to compare them too.
Well I tempered the chocolate to get the shiny appear! Plus, tempering the chocolate will give you a nice, crispy, clean break when you bite into the cluster.
What is tempering? It’s a fancy way for saying lowering the temperate of melted chocolate.
How to easily temper chocolate
The easy way to temper chocolate is to add finely chopped chocolate to your already melted chocolate. Stir until the newly added chocolate is melted.
Ta da. Tempered chocolate. You are so fancy ?
These chocolate cayenne nut clusters are great for gift giving, especially to those extra spicy people in your life.
- 1 pound (16 oz) chocolate almond bark, chopped in smaller chunks
- 10 oz dark chocolate chips (divided in half)
- 1 & 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 cups unsalted peanuts
- 1 & 1/2 cups unsalted almonds
- 1 & 1/2 cups unsalted pecans
- Spray your crock pot with non-stick cooking spray. Set to low. If making on the stove, use a large pot over low heat.
- Add the almond bark and half of the dark chocolate chips. Stir. Cover with the lid and stir occasionally to melt.
- Once the chocolate is melted, finely chop the remaining dark chocolate chips, and add the chocolate to the crock pot, stirring until the chocolate is melted. This step is an easy way to temper the chocolate. Meaning, you are cooling the temperature of the melted chocolate, producing chocolate that will be shiny and break crisply.
- Add in the peanuts, almonds and pecans, stir until well coated.
- Using a cookie scoop, drop the clusters into mini muffin cups or onto a silicone lined baking sheet or parchment paper.
- Allow the clusters to harden. Then share and enjoy!
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper = mild, but still a little kick
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper = medium, really spicy for me but not for my husband
- 3 tsp cayenne pepper = ultra spicy