Peanuts And Chocolate – A Time Honored Tradition
The peanut, the lowly legume who wanted to be a nut, has been paired with chocolate from time immemorial. Why? Is it the sweet-salty combination? Or maybe it’s the gooey-crunchy combination? But no doubt about it these two have been paired in recipes, candy bars, smoothies, and protein bars for a very long time.
The National Peanut Board estimates that:
Peanut butter accounts for about half of the U.S. edible use of peanuts—accounting for $850 million in retail sales each year. . . The other half of U.S. consumption is divided equally between snack nuts and confectionery.
In recounting the peanut’s history, which were first grown in the United States in Virginia, the Board shared that:
Peanuts became prominent after the Civil War when Union soldiers found they liked them and took them home. Both armies subsisted on this food source high in protein.
Their popularity grew in the late 1800s when PT Barnum’s circus wagons traveled across the country and vendors called “hot roasted peanuts!” to the crowds.
Soon street vendors began selling roasted peanuts from carts and peanuts also became popular at baseball games.
“Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks.” See, even in the well-known “Take Me Out to the Baseball Game” song they wanted that peanut salty and sweet combo. And today’s recipe does just that–perfectly balances the sweet and salty and brings these two together in splendid style!
This recipe from 12 Tomatoes calls for 2 pounds of peanuts: 1 each salted and unsalted. That is likely the reason these are so scrumptious.
These chocolate nut clusters are rich and silky, with the perfect amount of crunch to balance everything out. Plus, there’s just the right amount of bite from the salted peanuts, but since the recipe also calls for unsalted, the flavor isn’t overwhelming.
Chocolate Nut Clusters
Yields about 3 dozen
- 1 pound dry-roasted salted peanuts
- 1 pound dry-roasted unsalted peanuts
- 1 pound white almond bark
- 1 (10 oz.) bag peanut butter chips
- 1 (12 oz.) bag dark chocolate chips
- 4 oz. German chocolate bar, chopped
Place all peanuts in the bottom of slow cooker.
Cover with almond bark, peanut butter chips, chocolate chips and German chocolate.
Cover slow cooker and cook on LOW for 1 1/2-2 hours, or until melted.
Stir everything together, making sure nuts are thoroughly coated in chocolate.
Cover again and continue cooking on LOW for another 30-40 minutes.
Use a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon to scoop equal mounds of chocolate mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (or into cupcake wrappers).
Let dry at room temperature until completely set and hardened. 1-2 hours.
Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container.
Thank you to 12 Tomatoes for the recipe and image of the clusters.
Thank you National Peanut Board for the information on the peanut and the image of the vendor cart.