Saturday, April 22, 2017

Ginger Nut Clusters

Years ago my cousin gave me Chocolate (Practical Cooking) as an Easter present.  Several recipes in the book were earmarked to try for candy making.  Uh-huh.  I'm still not sure who the true recipient was of that gift.  Still - I've really liked most of the recipes including one savory stew (yes, with chocolate!).  There are still several recipes I want to try - one of these days I'll get to them.  But I think this one recipe for Ginger Nut Clusters was worth the book.  It was everyone's favorite from the first time we tried it.

On the surface, it's a strange combination:  graham crackers, cashews (we swapped out the original macadamia nuts), candied ginger and white chocolate, dipped in dark chocolate.  There's a lot of different texture and the unexpected zing of the candied ginger.  They're easy to make, and their lumpy asymmetrical shape is pleasing change next to all the round truffles.  I am torn between inhaling these or hording them after Easter.

This recipe is a batch-and-a-half of the original, but trust me, you want to make this much.  They'll go fast!  People will beg you to make more.

Ginger Nut Clusters
(Adapted from Nutty Chocolate Clusters in Chocolate (Practical Cooking))

9 oz white chocolate, chopped
5 oz graham crackers (about one sleeve + 1 cracker)
1 cup cashews
2 oz candied ginger, diced
8 or 9 oz dark chocolate, for dipping

Line a couple of cookie sheets with waxed paper.  Break graham crackers into small pieces (mostly small crumbs, but some chunky pieces).  Mix crackers with nuts and ginger.

Melt white chocolate over a double boiler.  Stir into cracker mixture.

Working quickly (because that chocolate will start hardening!), place small teaspoons of the mixture on cookie sheet.  Do not make these too large.  They may be a bit crumbly and look like they won't hold together.  Don't worry.  They'll hold together once they're dipped in the dark chocolate.  Chill until set.

Melt dark chocolate.  Dip the top half of each cluster and return to cookie sheet;  chill until set.

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