With regards to my kitchen adventures, I am happy to report that the spirit is going strong (pun intended ;)) and that 2015 has been marked by very few mishaps (!) in the kitchen, which is actually pretty unusual. I suspect that the latter is mostly due to the fact that I haven’t taken on many things outside my comfort zone.
Having said that, things are about to change with my idea to bake my own wedding cake. Oh yes, I definitely just said that.
To keep things balanced and earthy, I have just found myself (and you for that matter) a really nice and very easy recipe.
I’ve seen different versions of these almond clusters on the internet, many having whole almonds in them, but I have decided to use slivered almonds, as I like the texture much more.
The trick is to melt the chocolate properly (I am using David Lebovitz’ very reliable and easy tempering technique), to make sure that it stays shiny and doesn’t melt too easily in your hands (or kitchen). I’ve sprinkled the clusters with hibiscus sea salt that I’ve gotten as a present from friends. It looks really cool, but you can use any salt you like (such as this really funky Vanilla-Salt for example or some salt that is ground together with some espresso beans).
- 400 grams of dark chocolate (I used 60% cacao bars)
- 250 grams of flaked almonds
- pinches of hibiscus salt (alternatively you could use flaky sea salt, vanilla salt or salt ground with espresso beans for example)
- Melt 300 grams of the chocolate carefully, either over a hot water bath on the stove or in short intervals in the microwave. When it looks liquid, add the remaining 100 grams in one piece to the mixture and keep whisking it around. I have found that it usually melts completely and leaves you with some really glossy melted chocolate. If a part of the last added bar doesn't melt completely, simply fish it out and set it apart, you can easily use it for your next batch.
- Mix the almonds into the melted chocolate and make sure that it is all mixed up properly.
- Put a sheet of baking paper on your kitchen counter and drop spoonfulls of the mixture on it.
- Sprinkle the salt on top before it cools down. I have found that the clusters tend to turn out pretty big. I don't find this a problem, but it does mean that you will have to maybe double the amount in case you want to have enough to serve or give away.