Friday, November 26, 2010

195. Peanut Clusters, Festive

 As soon as I was old enough to be trusted in the kitchen, I baked cookies. Over the years, it seemed like I was on a  quest to find better tasting, more unusual or better looking cookies. With all that baking, I learned that even if the cookies did not turn out well,  I learned the fact that some  ingredients, when combined, were horrible. I also learned that often an old recipe was better than an updated version and that just because someone says a recipe is good, does not make it so.

Part of my desire to collect new recipes had to do with the fact that homemade treats were almost always a daily feature in my family's lunch bags. Sometimes, however, even I ran out of steam. If I occasionally turned to an easy, no-bake treat like today's was, at least, served with care.

Chocolate Peanut Clusters are easy to make and taste as good as they look. These treats are very pretty when served in little pleated paper cups and are easily modified by adding a variety of ingredients...let your taste buds be your guide!

Chocolate Peanut Clusters

½ C milk chocolate chips
½ C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 T shortening…do not use butter, margarine or oil
1 C unsalted, roasted peanuts

Optional ingredients:
cashews, coarsely chopped
Pretzels, crushed
White chocolate chips
Peanut butter chips

*If more than one or two additional ingredients are added, it might be necessary to increase the amount of melted chocolate.

In a small microwave safe bowl, add first 3 ingredients. Cook on HIGH for 1- 1 ½ min or just until chips are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred. Stir in peanuts. Drop by tsp. into 1-inch clumps on waxed paper. Allow to set until firm. Store in airtight container. I like to keep the clusters refrigerated. Makes 2 dozen candies.
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