When it comes to no-bake Christmas treats, nothing can be as easy as these Nutty Chocolate Clusters. All you need is chocolate and nuts. I added sprinkles just to make them a little more festive, but that is completely optional.
You can buy a package of chocolates like this from any store – especially at Christmastime. But, unlike these Nutty Chocolate Clusters, the ones you buy from a store are most likely going to be packed with mostly peanuts. Why? Because they’re one of the cheapest nuts and they are used a lot in chocolate confections as a filler. I promise you that peanuts will not outweigh any of the other nuts in this recipe!
These chocolates are packed with not only peanuts, but also, there are cashews, walnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts. When it comes to recipes with nuts, I can hardly ever leave out hazelnuts. They’re my absolute favourite! But, they must be coated in chocolate!
This is a great recipe to make, especially if you are looking for a quick and easy sweet recipe. Add this one to your cookie tins this year. Your friends and neighbours will love them! And, add sprinkles or top them with chopped nuts like I did. This time of year is all about food looking fun and festive, so just go for it!
Also, I should make mention that the little red truck you see in the photos is one of John.e’s projects. He worked on that thing for weeks! I had to include it somewhere, because it’s just so cute!
INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR THIS RECIPE:
- Chocolate Chips – I use chocolate chips a lot in my recipes, and I change up the type depending on how I feel. Unless the recipe states otherwise, you can use milk, semi-sweet, or dark chips.
- Peanuts – Roasted peanuts have the best flavour. If you need chopped peanuts, buy whole peanuts and chop them yourself. You’ll get a better consistency and a fresher peanut flavour. Unless otherwise stated, always use unsalted peanuts in recipes.
- Walnuts – Walnuts have a mild, buttery flavour which is why they are perfect in cookies and cakes. When they are baked, they soften slightly, which makes them easier to slice through too, so they won’t ruin those perfect slices of cake!
- Cashews – These have a rich nutty flavor and are more popular than ever before with the invention of cashew milk. They are a softer nut with a wonderful flavour.
- Hazelnuts – These have great crunch factor and taste very nutty and buttery. Hazelnuts are often called filberts. They’re the same thing!
- Pecans – They have a distinctly sweet and buttery flavour. The outside of the nut is slightly bitter and the flesh within is sweet, buttery, and fatty. The nut itself can be easily crumbled too.
- Sprinkles – I could write a book on sprinkles! I love them and I love using them. Pick sprinkles that are festive, fun, and appealing to you. Themed sprinkles are a great way to make an occasion pop!
MORE CHRISTMAS CONFECTIONS!
Are you impatient? Can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s recipe will be! If that’s you, I have a remedy! Last year, I published a series called Lord Byron’s 12 Biscotti of Christmas. The year before that, I published a series called Lord Byron’s 12 Bundt Cakes of Christmas. And, just a few days ago, I finished this year’s mini series call Lord Byron’s 12 Truffles of Christmas. You can click on the image below and see the entire series on one page! Don’t worry, you won’t lose this page. It will open up a new page so that you can easily get back to these no bake confections!
In your mind, what constitutes a no-bake recipe? Does it just apply to not turning on an oven? The term no-bake can be interpreted many ways, but for me, it just means I will not need to use my oven. It does not mean that I might not need the help of a microwave or my stovetop. Do you agree?
Well, for these Nutty Chocolate Clusters, you will need to use your microwave to melt the chocolate. You could use your stovetop to melt the chocolate too, if you prefer. I used to use my stovetop 100% of the time to melt chocolate, but just over a year ago, we got a microwave and I always use it to melt chocolate now. Yes, Dear Reader, we did not own a microwave for about nine years. Now that we have one, I’m not sure why we went so long without one!
You might also consider using your stovetop to toast the nuts. It is completely optional! You can use the nuts just as they are, but I’m a huge advocate for toasting nuts whenever possible. I cannot possibly do it justice by describing it, but toasting nuts make them just taste better. They are nuttier and there is a slightly smoky flavour too. The next section will walk you through how to toast the nuts, but you can skip right over it if you prefer.
The first thing you should do is to toast the nuts. How do you do that? It’s very simple! To be perfectly honest, this applies to any nuts or seeds, not just the nuts in this recipe. If you are not familiar with toasted nuts, then please try it just once. You will probably never revert to using nuts in your cooking or baking again without toasting them first!
I have tried using non-stick frying pans for toasting, but nothing works as well as a stainless steel pan. You could use a cast iron pan, but since they get very hot and retain heat so well, it’s easier to burn the nuts. See the frying pan in this picture? That’s the exact one that I use all the time. I’m not suggesting you run out and buy this same cookware set, but I want you to see the pan – remember, do not use non-stick if possible. You’ll get better results with plain stainless steel.
So, unlike most cooking where you’re required to preheat first, you don’t want to apply that same rule to toasting nuts. Add the nuts to a cold pan. Place the pan on the burner and turn the heat on – no higher than medium and probably even less if using a gas burner.
Keep the nuts moving about. I use a rubber spatula. Once you start to smell that warm and toasty aromatic smell, pay close attention. The nuts will take on a darker colour. Don’t let them get too dark. Once you’re satisfied, immediately remove them from the hot pan and transfer them to a dinner plate where they can be spread out to cool.
THE EASIEST WAY TO MELT CHOCOLATE
Here’s how to get the chocolate just right. Place the chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl. Whenever you microwave chocolate, you should microwave on medium power for 30 seconds. Then, if it’s still not silky smooth, microwave in increments of 5 or 10 seconds, depending on your microwave, stirring with a rubber spatula after each increment. If you want a thinner chocolate, add a scant teaspoon of vegetable or coconut oil for every one cup of chocolate.
MORE CHRISTMAS RECIPES!
Did you know that I’ve been posting a 24 Cookies of Christmas series for a few years now? There are over 100 Christmas cookie recipes that you can find right here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen! To make it easier to find, I have created a page for each series. Just click on the image below and you’ll find the full series for that volume all on one page!
STORING, PACKAGING, & FREEZING
When it comes to most no bake confections, they taste best at room temperature, but they don’t hold up well to being left out on your countertop for long periods of time. Some of them will stay fresh in a cookie jar or food-safe container with a lid for 3-5 days if left to sit on your kitchen countertop. But, others most certainly will not! If in doubt, store them in a food-safe container in your fridge. When you want one, two, or half a dozen, take them out of the container and place them in a single layer on a plate. Let them sit at room temperature for 5 minutes and they’re ready!
Most no-bake confections are made without the need to freeze them for long periods of time, but they can be frozen. Nutty Chocolate Clusters can be frozen! Once they are completely chilled, pile them into a clean, food-safe container. The container must be freezer friendly! You’ll want to ensure a very tight fitting lid too. I use these quite often when freezing baked goods. I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the container before pushing the lid on. This helps to create a better seal. The goal is to keep all of that freshness locked in!
You can freeze these for up to three months. If you plan to give previously frozen confections as a gift, lay them out onto a wire cooling rack in a single layer to thaw out. Condensation might form and that’s normal. Giving them space to breath by not overlapping them will help to eliminate that. Once thawed, pile into cellophane bags and tie with a ribbon, or stack in a cookie tin/box.
If I have not answered all of your questions in the text above, don’t hesitate to reach out to me! You can contact me by sending me a message in the comments section further down the page. I will try my best to answer as soon as possible! You might reach me even faster by following me on Facebook and sending me a private message. Scroll down to follow me and never miss another recipe!
Finally, as I stated previously, every day I will be posting a new recipe. If you miss one, don’t fret. You can find my entire collection of Christmas Recipes right here! There are over 100 Christmas recipes and counting. There’s something for everyone! Cheers!
Nutty Chocolate Clusters
- 1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup chopped salted peanuts
- 1/4 cup chopped salted cashews
- 1/4 cup chopped salted pecans
- 1/4 cup chopped unsalted hazelnuts
- 1/4 cup chopped unsalted walnuts
- 1 tablespoon sprinkles
- Line a mini muffin tin with paper mini muffin liners. Set aside.
- Next, add the chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in increments of 30 seconds on half power. Check the chocolate and stir well between each increment until silky smooth.
- Add all of the chopped nuts to the chocolate and stir to combine.
- Use a small cookie scoop to portion the chocolate into the paper mini muffin liners.
- Top with sprinkles.
- Set aside and allow chocolate to cool and firm at room temperature. Once fully hardened, transfer to a food-safe container and refrigerate.