ALMOND-GINGER CLUSTERS

An easy to make confection with toasted candied almonds and bits of ginger or other dried fruits to suit your taste.

Yield: 3 dozen 1-inch clusters

Ingredients

2 cups (6 oz) sliced almonds
¼ cup (1 oz) powdered sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon water
½ cup (3 oz) crystallized ginger or other dried or candied fruits diced to
¼ inch cubes
2 cups (12 oz) Collection Etienne 61% Semisweet or 72% Bittersweet Chocolate Wafers

Directions

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine almonds, sugar, corn syrup and water in a small bowl, mixing until sugar dissolves. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment and spread nut mixture into a thin, even layer covering the entire sheet. Toast for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the almonds are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on rack. When cooled to room temperature, crumble any chunks and combine with ginger in a small bowl.

Melt chocolate in top of double boiler over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and cool chocolate to 95ºF.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. In a small bowl combine half of the chocolate, (put remaining chocolate back on top of double boiler to hold at 95ºF) and half of the almond mixture until uniformly coated with chocolate. Use 2 teaspoons to form into 1-inch mounds. Work quickly so chocolate does not set before clusters are formed. Repeat with remaining chocolate and almond mixture. Cool at 65ºF until chocolate has solidified and no longer looks wet. Store in an airtight container at 60-70ºF.

As an alternative, all of the chocolate and almond mixture can be combined at one time and spread onto the parchment lined sheet pan. Break into bite size pieces after chocolate has solidified.