Adobe Stock | Photo by Ruslan Mitin
Whether they’re for a birthday or a custom Valentine’s Day chocolate box, these handmade candies are easy to make and tasty to eat.
This recipe for homemade chocolates is so easy that once you’ve done it, you’ll think up your own filling combinations. Hazelnuts could easily be swapped with cashews, peanuts, pecans, or walnuts, while semisweet chocolate chips could go dark if that’s more to your taste. Packed in cellophane bags tied with a red ribbon, they make nice, small gifts and are ideal inside a homemade candy box. So, if you’re planning an at-home Valentine’s Day celebration in the Hudson Valley this year, why not whip up a batch or two? Your sweetheart (and your sweet tooth) will thank you.
Chocolate, Hazelnut, and Ginger Clusters
Yields 22-24 clusters
1 cup whole hazelnuts
8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup finely chopped candied ginger
24 hazelnut halves for topping
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Spread hazelnuts in a single layer in a shallow pan and toast for about 10-15 minutes, stirring once.
Place nuts in the middle of a kitchen towel and rub off the paper-thin skins (sometimes hazelnuts can be found without this skin, in which case they only need to be toasted) and cool.
Melt chocolate in a shallow bowl in the microwave. Start with one minute, remove, stir, and repeat for 20 seconds, then 10 seconds at a time until completely melted. Carefully remove bowl from the microwave.
Stir in the cooled hazelnuts and chopped ginger. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto baking sheets covered with foil. Immediately top each cluster with a hazelnut half.
Refrigerate until cool and hardened. Store refrigerated in airtight containers.
Originally published in Delicious December: How the Dutch Brought Us Santa, Presents, and Treats: A Holiday Cookbook.