Just 5 minutes, 3 ingredients, and a little time in a crock pot or on a stovetop will get you great chocolate peanut clusters for holiday giving, a cookie exchange, or the office holiday party. This will become a family tradition.
It is the holiday season, and we are all rushed. Or at least you are. I'm retired now, YEA.
It will take you only 5 minutes preparation time mostly spent breaking up the chocolate and almond bark. 2 hours on low in the crock pot, and a few minutes scooping. Use your two hours any way you want. I took a nap.
I used the Food.com version as my stated inspiration recipe. There are many similar recipes, but all seem to vary. It is always interesting to read the comments on recipes. The comments on this one will tell the story. Everybody gave it 5 stars.
This is a very forgiving recipe. Change the nuts, add some coconut, switch out the almond bark for something else. It just always works.
An easy 5. These are evil good.
Use a good quality of chocolate chips or chunks. You can use semi-sweet, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate.
I like to add a bar of Baker chocolate. This is higher in cocoa butter and will add more flavor to make up for using the candy melts or almond bark (which help in the hardness.)
The amount of chocolate can vary. By weight, the total amount of chocolate should be about ¾ of the amount of almond bark (or candy melts). You can use as little as half the amount or up to an equal amount.
Candy Melts/Almond Bark
Candy melts and similar things are like almond bark and are basically the same or close enough. You can use the same weight of either.
Almond bark and candy melts are usually vanilla-flavored candy coating made with vegetable fats instead of cocoa butter. They also have some coloring and flavors added. These are added to make the candy harder and a better covering for the nuts.
Almond bark comes in bars and chunks, and it is very chocolate-like in uses texture and tastes but tends to be harder. Almond bark is a bit "old school," and the more common form now is candy melts.
Almond bark is sometimes hard to find. Smaller markets will usually have during the holiday season. Walmart, I believe, usually has it in stock.
If you use almond bark, be sure to break it up some to help it melt easier.
I suggest standard skinless dry roasted peanuts. They do need to be dry roasted to eliminate all water, which will affect the chocolate.
Some recipes use part or all unsalted. I like a little salt there, and I usually will use the lightly salted peanuts. I find this made with unsalted nuts lacking some taste. Use full salted if you want.
The size of the recipe and servings
My original recipe was double this size and had no variability. I have republished this at half original size and provided options making it much friendlier for most homes.
The serving size is about one tablespoon, which is about one heaping kitchen teaspoon. Make them a little small says the guy who has eaten hundreds of these.
These candies are good at room temperature for about 5 days.
I prefer a crockpot for this. It can be done on the stovetop, but you will need to be very careful about overheating, or there will be texture issues.
As written, this needs to be made in a crock pot of 3-quarts or bigger. A double recipe will fit in a 6-quart cooker.
If you use a large crock pot for the smaller recipe, it can heat faster, so in addition to my recommended check at 90 minutes into cooking, please also check at 60 minutes. But it will probably still take the full 2 hours.
The crock pot needs to be on low. This is not a recipe to be cooked on high. On low, most crock pots slowly will get to 200 degrees over 4 or more hours. So a great slow heat to melt chocolate. On high, some crock pots may run 250+ degrees. They shouldn't, but they do. Also, the run-up to full temperature is much faster on the high setting. This adds a good chance to overheat the chocolate.
You can do this in a large, heavy pot on the stovetop over low heat. You will need to add everything but the nuts. Stand there and frequently stir until the chocolate melts and comes together completely. This will take about 15 minutes to complete. Stir in the nuts at the end.
The crock version takes only a few minutes. Then you come back when done. I always do the crock pot method.
So, I have buffed up and changed this recipe some. Most of my updates to recipes don't touch the recipe. But here I have "changed" the recipe a bit.
This is a very forgiving recipe. Not much can go wrong with melting chocolate and adding nuts. My original version was large and provided very few options—time to fix that.
First, I have cut the size in half, which is better for most people. But you can easily make a double batch if needed. I usually do.
Second, I have provided some options for the chocolate and almond bark that should help you. The original recipe is from a different time—package sizes and availability has changed. Chocolate chips no longer come in one-pound bags, but 12 oz is common. Almond bark is hard to find, but candy melts are everywhere.
The original recipe was: 2 pounds dry roasted peanuts, 2 pounds vanilla almond bark, 1 pound chocolate chips or chunks, one 4 oz Baker German chocolate bar.
📖Crock Pot Candy Recipes
Note: All images are for double batch, which is what we normally make. All discussion is for a smaller amount, which is half the previous published recipe.
Only a few ingredients.
Use a 3-quart crock pot or bigger. Add one pound of lightly salted dry roasted peanuts. Add 12 oz. of chocolate chips or chunks (See the discussion above or in the recipe card about the chocolate amount and types.) Top with 1 pound of vanilla almond bark (broken up) or candy melts.
Cook on low with the cover on. DO NOT cook on high. Crock pots can vary, so check the chocolate at 90 minutes into cooking. It is done when you can mix everything completely. It will take about 2 hours normally.
Allow to cool for a few minutes to firm up slightly. Then spoon heaping spoonfuls onto parchment paper. Try not to make them too big. It is candy, not cookies.
Allow to cool for about 2 hours.
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Editor's Note: Originally Published November 25, 2016. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.