All Christmas foods I love hold distinct memories, probably because my family has always held so many traditions. Without putting on any fanfare, Mom and Grandma crafted our customs by creating habits every year. I remember each family had a certain food they made. Grandma had her peppernuts and Mom had her peanut clusters. I’m sure when my sister and I were young, Mom loved how simple and quick peanut clusters were. Also, my dad would always be as excited for peanut clusters as us kids were for presents!.
Mom didn’t need a recipe, but would often simply pour a combination of chocolates together in a double boiler with peanuts. Since there are so few ingredients, it means that each one is super important.
Traditionally, Spanish peanuts are used in candy making. Spanish peanuts have red skins and are smaller than many other varieties. They’re slightly higher in oil content, giving way to a stronger, nuttier flavor.
Peanut clusters can use any variety of chocolate, from milk to dark. Usually, I go towards darker chocolate, but that can easily overpower the peanuts. Instead, a mixture of semisweet and white chocolate lets both the peanuts and the chocolate shine through. Once melted, you don’t notice that the white is in there, but the sweet lighter flavor is perfect!
Watch how to make these peanut clusters:
- 16 oz white chocolate
- 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 ½ lb roasted and salted Spanish peanuts
- Melt chocolates in a heatproof bowl and set over simmering water. Do not let water touch the bottom of the bowl or the chocolate could scorch. Stir until the mixture is melted and smooth.
- Once smooth, remove from heat and add peanuts. Stir until completely coated.
- Using two spoons, drop candy (about 2 tablespoons) on parchment-lined baking sheets. Let cool until the chocolate is set.
- Store in an airtight container up to 1 week or chill and store 3 weeks.