These Sweet and Salty Snacks Require Just a Few Ingredients
A slow cooker isn't just a way to take the effort out of making soups, stews and chili: You can also use it to make sweet treats for your kids, such as these simple chocolate-coated peanut clusters. They require only a few ingredients and don't take much effort, so you can get them started and go about the rest of your day, checking in every so often to stir the chocolate as it melts. The contrast between the salty peanuts and sweet chocolate makes these crunchy clusters an appealing snack that you'll enjoy as much as your kids will.
In addition to tempting party snacks or lunchbox fillers, these homemade candies make an excellent small gift or party favor. Just wrap a handful in plastic and tie the parcel with a colorful ribbon.
Total Time: 2-3 hours | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 12-16
- 12 ounces chocolate-flavored bark coating
- 16 ounces salted dry-roasted peanuts
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
This recipe calls for bark coating, a chocolate-like candy made with vegetable oil, to create a mix that melts easily and coats the peanuts smoothly. If you don't have any, you can replace it with an equal amount of chocolate and add 2 tablespoons of vegetable shortening to help thin the coating.
You can substitute an equal weight of smaller chocolate-flavored candy melts or baker's chocolate for the chocolate-flavored bark coating.
- Break the chocolate bark coating into small pieces, around 1/2 inch to 1 inch on a side.
- Place the peanuts in the bottom of a 3 1/2-quart slow cooker. Spread the broken chocolate bark coating and the chocolate chips over the peanuts.
- Heat on low heat. Exact cooking times will vary, but melting the chocolate should take around 1 to 2 hours.
- Stir the mixture occasionally to ensure that the melted chocolate covers the peanuts evenly.
- With a large spoon or ice cream scoop, scoop out dollops of the chocolate-coated peanuts onto a sheet of wax paper.
- Allow the clusters to cool and harden for approximately 1 hour.
- Store clusters in an airtight container.
This recipe calls for semisweet chocolate chips, but you can experiment with different types of chocolate or flavors of bark coating. You can also adjust the mixture of nuts to change the flavor of this snack: It works particularly well with sweet nuts such as salted cashews.
If you have a larger slow cooker, you can increase the proportions of this recipe, but be prepared to allow some extra time for the chocolate to melt.
Dr James Holloway has been writing about games, geek culture and whisky since 1995. A former editor of "Archaeological Review from Cambridge," he has also written for Fortean Times, Fantasy Flight Games and The Unspeakable Oath. A graduate of Cambridge University, Holloway runs the blog Gonzo History Gaming.