Salted Dark Chocolate Fruit & Nut Clusters

Salted Dark Chocolate Fruit & Nut Clusters

How to Temper Chocolate in the Microwave

Recently I put myself on a low-in-refined-starches-and-sugars diet in the hope of saving my hormonal skin (It is working! More on that later.). Needless to say, I’ve been jonesing for some sweets. While my nightly square of dark chocolate is nice, after awhile it can get a little monotonous. I’ll admit that the dark chocolate bar with crispy bacon pieces that I recently discovered is a welcome diversion. Scarlet likes it, too—I’m creating a monster.

This recipe that I created includes good quality, antioxidant-rich dark chocolate, plus toasted pecans and honey for a chocolate turtle-esque treat. Pistachios add an appealing splash of green, and tart cherries balance out the richness. Feel free to mix things up with your own combination of fruit and nuts, like raisins and peanuts, or dates and walnuts. These clusters also make great holiday gifts, that is if you don’t mind parting with them!

I’m curious, have any of you cut out nearly all refined carbs and seen improvements in your skin? Talk to me!

Salted Dark Chocolate Fruit & Nut Clusters

30 pecan halves

1 (3.25-ounce, or 92 g) bar high quality dark chocolate, chopped into chip-size pieces

20 pistachios, shelled

20 dried tart cherries

Honey

Flaked sea salt

 

Preheat oven to 300°F. Place pecans on a sheet pan and bake for 13-15 minutes, until aromatic and a shade darker, with a crunchy texture. Cool. Crush 10 pecans in a small bowl using the bottom of a measuring cup.

Line another sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Place the chocolate pieces in a bowl and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring well after each time to redistribute the heat. Once 75% of the chocolate is melted, stir until the remaining chocolate is melted and smooth. The more you stir, the better. Stick a clean finger (or a thermometer) into the chocolate to test to see if it is 90°F or just slightly lower (that’s about 8°F lower than body temperature). If it’s still too warm, let it rest a few minutes and stir some more. Once you think your chocolate is the right temperature, test it by dipping a knife into it and putting the knife in the refrigerator. If after 1-2 minutes, it is slightly shiny and not sticky, speckled, or streaked, then you have properly tempered chocolate.

Sprinkle the crushed pecans in 20 evenly-spaced little piles on the lined sheet pan and spread each out to circles slightly larger than a quarter. Using a teaspoon measure, scoop the tempered chocolate onto the crushed pecan circles. Place a cherry and a pistachio in the middle, followed by a whole pecan angled on top. Squeeze a drop of honey onto the tip of each pecan and sprinkle on a few salt flakes. Allow chocolate to set until completely firm. Carefully remove chocolates with a knife or small offset spatula and store in an airtight container in a cool area.

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 3 minutes

Makes 20 servings, 1 each

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 53 calories, 4 g total fat (1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 7 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 5 g total carbohydrate (1 g fiber), 1 g protein, trace iron, trace calcium, 2% DV Vitamin A, trace Vitamin C.

Salted Dark Chocolate Fruit & Nut Clusters

 

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My Cookbook: Clean Eating for Busy Families Available Now!

Salted Dark Chocolate Fruit & Nut Clusters

Salted Dark Chocolate Fruit & Nut Clusters

By Team Michelle Dudash Published: November 28, 2012

  • Yield: 1 chocolate bites (20 Servings)
  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 3 mins
  • Ready In: 28 mins

Sweet and savory dark chocolate bites topped with fruit and nut clusters.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Place pecans on a sheet pan and bake for 13-15 minutes, until aromatic and a shade darker, with a crunchy texture. Cool. Crush 10 pecans in a small bowl using the bottom of a measuring cup.
  2. Line another sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  3. Place the chocolate pieces in a bowl and microwave in 30-second increments, generously stirring after each time until the heat has redistributed. Once 75% of the chocolate is melted, stir until the remaining chocolate is melted and smooth. The more you stir, the better. Stick a clean finger (or a thermometer) into the chocolate to test and see if it is 90°F or just slightly lower (that’s about 8°F lower than body temperature). If it’s still too warm, let it rest a few minutes and stir some more. Once you think your chocolate is at the right temperature, test it by dipping a knife into it and putting it in the refrigerator. If after 1-2 minutes, it is slightly shiny and not sticky, speckly, or streaked, then you have properly tempered chocolate.
  4. Sprinkle the crushed pecans in 20 evenly-spaced little piles on the lined sheet pan and spread each out to circles slightly larger than a quarter. Using a teaspoon measure, scoop the tempered chocolate onto the crushed pecan circles. Place a cherry and pistachio in the middle, followed by a pecan angled on top. Squeeze a drop of honey onto the tip of each pecan and sprinkle a few salt flakes. Allow chocolate to set until completely firm. Carefully remove chocolates with a knife or small offset spatula and store in an airtight container in a cool area.
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4 Comments

  1. Posted November 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Sounds delicious. I”m definitely going to try it. Thank you!

  2. Kirsten
    Posted December 30, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    I’ve cut out starches and refined sugar and definitely seen improvements in my mood and PMS symptoms! Looking forward to trying this recipe!

    • Posted January 1, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kirsten,

      Ah, that is good to know! I seem have more “energy” in the afternoons since cutting out most added sugars and refined carbs. Yes, makes sense! Good to experience first hand. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

      Michelle

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