Come the holidays, we start to receive gifts of homemade chocolates from family and friends. Upon hearing that the gifter made the chocolates themselves, my children become enthusiastically inspired to make fancy chocolates themselves, as well. Homemade chocolates can be a labor-intensive and frankly, quite technical project. But not these Fruit & Nut clusters. They are so simple to make that (aside from melting the chocolate) my four-year old could make them all by himself.
Simply add your favorite dried fruits and nuts to a bowl of good quality melted chocolate (I recommend using dark as it hardens quicker and more firmly than milk chocolate), stir, and scoop out mounds of the mixture onto a sheet of waxed paper. Then all you have to do is let them harden. We reserved a little bit of each cluster component to place on the clusters after they’ve been scooped out and shaped so that you can see the beautiful colors and textures that lie inside the chocolates.
Don’t these look just like little jewels?! I love to use vibrant red cranberries and crunchy green pumpkin seeds because they give the clusters such holiday flair!
What You Need
- 1 cup Dark Chocolate Chips (use a good quality chocolate like Ghirardelli)
- 4 tablespoons Dried Cranberries
- 4 tablespoons Pumpkin Seeds/Pepitas (make sure they have the hulls removed)
- 4 tablespoons Sunflower Seeds (you can use plain or roasted & salted, according to your preference)
- 4 tablespoons Sliced or Slivered Almonds
- Wax Paper
Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Place in the microwave for 30 seconds on high heat, remove, and stir with a rubber spatula. Repeat this process until the chocolate is melted. Alternatively, you can melt your chocolate on the stove-top by filling a small saucepan with about ½ inch of water. Set a glass bowl on top of the saucepan and add the chocolate chips to it. Heat the saucepan over medium/high heat. Use a rubber spatula to stir the chocolate, scraping the sides until it is completely melted. Make sure to hold the bowl with an oven mitt with the hand that is not doing the stirring to avoid burns.
Place a sheet of waxed paper on a baking sheet. Use a spoon to place mounds of the chocolate coated fruit and nuts on the waxed paper, each mound spaced an inch or two apart. Press mounds down slightly with the back of the spoon so that they are not too tall.
Makes about 12 clusters.