First things first: the original recipe I adapted this from calls them bars, but I cut them small so they’re nuggets. OK? Plus, it’s cuter that way.
Anyway. Hi! Holiday snack creation under major way in the House of Paisley, since someone (who would be me) is way, way, waaaaaay behind in her baking this season. I have no idea what happened. Time just got away from me. Anyway. This recipe is mostly easy, though it does come with a little bit of caution. It takes a chunk of time because it involves layers setting up in your freezer and you can’t rush that. And, I always want people to be aware when something requires working with hot sugar, which is no joke and can cause a burn. I worked from a recipe online (that you can find here) but altered it…beeeecause…I can’t help myself. Here’s what I used:
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, divided
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
- 6 ounces white chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup peanuts (meaning, 1 cup’s worth after they’ve been removed from their shells)
- a sprinkling of kosher or sea salt, to taste
First things first: take the cream out of your fridge and let it sit on the counter. You really do want it to be warm…or at least warm-ish…when the time comes to use it. Shell your peanuts. The original recipe called for the use of salted, roasted peanuts, but I used unsalted because I am a bit of a control freak and want to determine for myself how much salt goes into a recipe. Get 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate melting in a double-boiler. Line a bread pan with baker’s parchment, and give the parchment a good shot of your favorite non-stick cooking spray.
When choosing the chocolate that’s currently melting, remember: you can use whatever sort of chocolate you’d like. I used semi-sweet because it’s my favorite for desserts, and recommend against using milk chocolate because the caramel is pretty sweet and milk chocolate won’t provide any bitter balance. I also wouldn’t use a chocolate that’s higher than 70% cacao unless you’re making this for hardcore chocofiends. But. Once the first four ounces of chocolate have melted, pour it into your prepared bread pan and add a sprinkling of salt over it.
Put this in the freezer to set for 15-ish minutes. Keep your double-boiler handy, since you’re going to use it again for the second batch of chocolate.
While this is heating, gather up the peanuts and cream (measured out to 1/3 cup, so it’s ready to use). Put the sugar and water in a sauce pot and start heating it over low-to-medium heat, until the sugar dissolves and the liquid turns clear. Stir it occasionally, but not too much. While the sugar is turning into syrup, chop the white chocolate. You will want it to be fairly small.
So, peanuts, cream, white chocolate, and a heat-proof silicone stirrer, all close at hand? Great. Because this stage moves along fairly quickly. Get the chocolate layer out of the freezer and have that handy, too. When the sugar starts to look like this:
And by “this” I mean, golden on the edges with slow thick bubbles, then take the pot and slowly start to swirl the sugar, over heat, until it turns rich brown and smells like deep caramel.
Move this off the heat and be ready to move fast. The cream goes in first, and it will bubble fiercely. Don’t freak out, it’s OK, just stir it in really quickly. Follow that with the peanuts and chocolate. You may notice that the candy is giving some resistance; it’s cooling and trying to set, which it will do as soon as it’s able, which is why you A) don’t want to use cold cream, because the cold will make the sugar set even faster and B) need everything close by and ready for use. Give it all a couple of stirs until everything is fully incorporated, then pour it on top of the frozen chocolate and smooth it out into a nutty layer. Sprinkle with a little more salt, if you’re so inclined.
Put this back in the freezer. Go have some lunch, because this should set for about 45 minutes.
Once your peanut layer is frozen, put the second batch of chocolate on the double-boiler. Melt that, pour it on top, put it back in the freezer. Leave it alone for another half an hour. When it’s fully frozen, take it from the freezer and lift it out of the bread pan with the parchment. Peel off the parchment and put it on a cutting board.
Then take your trusty chef’s knife and cut it into whatever size pieces you want. I like bite-size, because they’re adorable and you don’t have to commit to an entire bar. These are kind of like biting into a slightly harder Snickers, and oh…they’re so good. Creamy, chocolately, peanutty…if you show up with these at a family event you’re sure to become the favorite niece or nephew soon enough, and work your way to the top of crazy Uncle Arthur’s will.
If only I had a crazy Uncle Arthur.
And so. The biggest problem I find with these? Is that they manage to get in your mouth. Relentlessly. 🙂 Enjoy!