New York Times best-selling author, slow cooking expert, mom of three
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A Year of Slow Cooking

Sunday, December 21, 2008

CrockPot Peanut Clusters



Day 356.

11 days to go until 2009. I'm going to cry.

Today is the first day of Hanukkah, and there are only a few days left until Christmas. If you're entertaining for the holidays, or need any last-minute hostess gifts, these peanut clusters rock. And they make A LOT. You could easily feed the entire neighborhood on one batch, or make yourself very, very sick.

I, um, have eaten too many. Much too many. It's Susan and Amie's fault. I had to change Susan's original recipe because I live in one of the few places in the world without a Walmart, and couldn't find Chocolate Bark. Nor did any of our grocery stores know what chocolate bark is/was. So I improvised, and am quite pleased with the results. My waistband, not so much...

The Ingredients.

3 (16-ounce) jars lightly salted roasted peanuts (lightly salted is important!)
2 (4-ounce) boxes German Baker's Chocolate
1 (8-ounce) box Unsweetened Baker's Chocolate (there are 2 in the picture. that was wrong.)
1 (24-ounce) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla (not pictured because I didn't know I wanted/needed it until after the photo)


The Directions.

Use a large crockpot. This makes about 150 peanut clusters. Spray the inside of your crock with cooking spray, and place the unwrapped baking chocolate, and bars of German chocolate in the bottom. Add all the peanuts. Pour in the chocolate chips, and add vanilla. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours, or high for about 1.5. While the chocolate is melting, lay out a bunch of parchment paper on your counter top or kitchen table. When time has elapsed, stir well, and remove from heat. Use a small ice-cream scoop to plop out bite-sized piles onto the parchment paper.

Let cool before eating---this takes a long time---hours. It'd be best to leave them overnight so you don't pick at them. Unless you have much more will power than I do, then I suppose it would be okay. But I sort of hate you.

Package up and give away as soon as possible.

The Verdict.

These are addictive. The chocolate flavor is quite rich, and tastes dark. If you aren't a fan of dark chocolate, use milk chocolate chips. The salt flavor from the nuts is subtle, but is there, and it makes your tongue itch for more.

and more.

Thank you again to Susan and Amie! Make sure to check out Amie's play-by-play peanut-cluster making video.


I was thinking about nut-allergies during the night. I think you should turn these into pretzel clusters. Definitely.
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74 comments:

Melissa Henning said...

sweet! i am going to make these tonight or tomorrow, but with milk chocolate :). Thanks for all of the awesome recipes!

Leann I Am said...

OMG....THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! You just gave me the perfect recipe to make for all of our friends and family WITHOUT being in the kitchen ALL DAY LONG!

YOU ROCK!

Seriously, do you realize how sad we'll be when you're not posting everyday?

Lynn said...

Yummy! These sound wonderful, and yet another recipe to add to my list to try.

What will we do without your daily blog next year? You have been an inspiration. Thank you!

hampton crabber said...

i am goin' to cry also because i am addicted to your site...anyway, if i change chocolate flavors but use the same amount will that be ok? and how about changing nut type, i am fond of nuts, ( ; )this is from your site..haha..i am checking my ingredients as we type

MommyStamper said...

OMG!!! I am going to have to try this! It sounds waaaay too easy. I don't have will power either so thanks for the hint to let them set overnight:)

Happy Holidays!!!

Erin Phillips said...

AAHHHHH!! Heaven in a crock!!!!

KT said...

yummy - we'll probably try the pretzel version (due to allergies).

PS I think it's funny that this is tagged as "breakfast" :)

dotoner said...

I've only been following you for a few months now - but you have saved dinner a few times for my family! Please don't go away in 2009!!!

Anonymous said...

Couple of things...first, another good cluster recipe is 2 bags butterscotch chips, 1 bag semi-sweet chips, and a lg. thing of peanuts. Drop the same way and they rock!!! Also, you can make the same chocolate and put in those crunchy chow mein noodles, or a mix of the noodles and peanuts, and they are SOOOOOO good!

:)

Shoebox Princess said...

Oh, man, I am SO going to miss this 365 days of crockpot recipes when you finish in a week and a half. I haven't ever commented before, but I've checked every day since late spring or so.

I've had great success with every recipe of yours that I've tried. Thanks so much for doing this!

I can't wait to try this recipe!

Suzanne said...

Oh no! I thought I was going to get away in the clear due to my nut allergy, until I saw the pretzel version... now I *must* make them!

SaraK said...

Yum! Chocolate covered treats without using a double boiler!

Tracy said...

Gonna try this one...but cutting it in half as I don't want to share and I will eat all 150...so less to make my self sick on!

Stephanie said...

I do a similar recipe and they're always a hit. Great for gift-giving and recipe/cookie exchanges. My recipe is: 16 oz. dry roasted peanuts, 16 oz. regular peanuts, 24 oz. semi-sweet chips, 24 oz. white almond bark, 1 German chocolate bar. Place nuts in crockpot, top with chocolates. Turn on low for about 2 -3 hours, then stir up and drop onto wax paper. They are extremely addicting!!

kath said...

Question - wouldn't pretzels get soggy in the crockpot?

Multiple Mom T said...

Are you going to cry from joy that you are almost done or from sadness because you will miss posting EVERY SINGLE DAY? I'm betting it's the first.

I applaud you for sticking to it. That's something in this day and age!

I'll miss you! I check in every day!

Anonymous said...

Tip: if you drop them onto trays or cookie sheets (either lined with wax paper or sprayed with cooking oil) that will fit in your freezer, you can set them much faster in there. That way, you can devour all of them sooner.

Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Kath,

when I made the nuts and bolts mix and the pretzels were soggy until they fully cooled, then the rightful crunch returned. I think the chocolate would work the same way. The frito candy was in choc, too, and the fritos/pretzels got their crunch back.

mmm. those were good. I need to make them again!

kath, I think I'm going to be weirded out to not have to come up with a new post everyday! I'm going to miss it, I really am.

xox
steph

blueraindrop said...

chocolate bark is almond bark... just in a different flavor. ask them for almond bark, and it will be right next to the white one they will take you to.
kroger and most other grocery stores have it... the ones around here even have it over in the special baking section so you don't have to fight down the baking row. usually its near the chocolate chips in a large rectangle chunk with notches to break it apart.

Anonymous said...

OMG it's almost the end of the year! What am I going to do without a crockpot post everyday!?! I have to say it has been a great year since I discovered your blog. I hope you still have plenty of recipes to try with the new year. Thanks!

Mmmmaaahvelous said...

Okay, I haven't tried these yet but abolutely will!!
And can I just say, that this is one of your funniest posts. Thanks for the laughs! I love that too!
Merry Christmas Lady Crockpot!
PS: Are you going to keep daily crockpotting in 2009 or is there a new venture coming?

Girl Fisher said...

My mom makes peanut clusters every year around Christmas! We are making them on Christmas Eve this year. She uses white almond bark and adds chocolate chips to make it chocolaty. Yum! I can't wait!

Gina said...

Another great addition (or substitution if you have allergies) is chow mein noodles. They add great texture and crunch!

Anonymous said...

I keep coming back to your blog; LOVING it and my CP which I picked up second hand 2 weeks ago and had been hunting for for ages. Just sent a link to an American friend who also has a CP and will get all your references to the shops I don't know (being that I am a Brit). Biggest hit for me so far; Lancashire hot pot, based it on the Hairy Bakers recipe but substituted boudin noir for blood sausage since I live in France... their blog is fun too: http://www.hairybikers.com/hairybikers_exclusive_recipe_hotpot.html My husband ate his and the kids' platefuls, he said it was the best ever. A big thank you for your humour and all the great ideas; an inspiration! A bit sad though that I found you so late on in your year and soon you'll stop. Merry Christmas!

Lynn said...

I make these almost every year. They work great with mixed nuts also.

Orlandrea said...

I have only just started following this blog. But I am addicted and check it every day. This one however will no doubt be my favorite. I think I'll be making these in a few days. I am going to be making them as gifts for my husbands employees.
AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Bills Family said...

Oh my biggest regret of 2008 will be that I only discovered your blog on...December 20th of this year. So much fun, and I too love my slow cooker. Can't decide which one to try first.

Maggs said...

Oh man, we used to make those as kids. But I think we also put chow mein noodles in them. But I'm going to make some for my final christmas party tomorrow night.

Mom to 5...Daughter of the King said...

Wow! I think I am in love!!

Tanya said...

This sounds delish. I will try it ASAP.

I make one with 1 part peanut butter and 2 parts butterscotch chips. I have used it with Chex cereal, chow mein noodles, and with pretzels. Mmmm.

Are your recipes still going to be available online in 2009, or do I need to get going with my printer? We will miss your daily posts!

Merry Christmas!
Tanya

Anonymous said...

hahahaha! Your post on this recipe is hil-AR-ious!!! And your friend's video is equally funny! We will all miss you, that's for sure...if I'm having a bad day, I find your website very uplifting...cheers me up right away...and plus which, your recipes are very very good! Thanks, thank, thanks!

Anonymous said...

in lieu of chocolate bark or baking chocolate, use the candy making discs from your local craft store like the Wilton ones. My recipe is equal parts milk and dark discs. only I melt the chocolate first( 2 bags at a time) and then add the nuts..and I also add mini marshmallows and raisins. just cuz I can. If the chocolate starts to get thick and clumpy just stir in a cap full of vegetable oil.

I have been using my crock pot to make chocolate candy for years( ask me about my cherries that can only be consumed by adults of legal drinking age)

I have been reading your blog all year and every recipe of yours I have tried has been great..some I have made numerous times.

Dawnmarie B.

Rona's Home Page said...

I love your recipes. And to think that you use the crockpot to create these yummy treats.

Kris said...

This looks good, I think I will have to make some for New Year's Eve. I have made quite a few recipes from your site, and like every single one of them! I hope you continue with your blog even once it's 2009!

Beverly said...

Please do not be frustrated with me if you have answered this a dozen times (or more), but is there going to be a cookbook? I really do not want to lose all these recipes. I haven't had time to try them all yet!

Thanks for following through on your resolution. So many people have enjoyed the year with you. It feels like you are a friend, and I know I am not the only one who wants to see where 2009 takes you. (Can we go along?)

Happy Holidays!

Bev

Emily said...

This looks yummy and too easy.

I was going to share with you a different (at least for me) way I used by crockpot.

I wanted to make chocolate dipped pretzel rods. I put a little bit of water in the bottom of the crockpot and then put the chocolate bark in a coffee mug. I placed the coffee mug in the crockpot and outfitted it with an aluminum cover (so the condensation wouldn't get in the chocolate). I then turned it on high and let it melt. The coffee cup was the perfect size to dip the pretzel rods in and as I ran low on chocolate I just added a few more pieces of chocolate bark, set it back in the crockpot and waited.

I also used some very pretty $1 tins from the Dollar Tree and gave these as gifts to my daughters teachers.
They were super easy, inexpensive and even my 2 year old could help dip the pretzel rods in the chocolate.

You have given me a new appreciation for my crockpot.
Thanks!

Rebekah said...

we don't have walmart either, i know the pain you speak of.

these look fantastic!!!! cant' wait to try them!

Lisajoy Marinello said...

thank you - cannot wait to try these! i may do them as my "favors" for Christmas day and put them beside each setting at the table!!! thanks!!! if you try them with pretzels, please post. Thanks!

Heather B said...

I wanted to ask you if you use crock pot liners? I love using my crock pot but I have the hardest time keeping it clean! Is there a specific spray you would recommend or another tip/hint you could recommend to help me clean it easier? Thanks!

Nicole said...

I just discovered this blog and it is fabulous! My crock is my best friend after a long day of work because I'd rather spend my evening running after my child than cooking. I can't wait to try all these recipes! One question - do you brown the meat in your recipes before you put it in the crock pot? I didn't see it mentioned, but I thought maybe it was assumed.

Thanks! Are you going to continue this through 2009? Are you recipes still going to be available after 2008 is up?

Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Beverly, the blog won't go away after the new year, I promise.

Heather, I haven't used those liners; but I've heard wonderful things about them. My husband is my clean-up crew, and he usually soaks the crock for a few hours in hot water and dish soap, then washes either by hand or in the dishwasher.

Nicole, I'm not a fan of browning. There have been a few times I've done it (like the first time I did ribs this year, and the pomegranate beef), but I always regret cooking before cooking; I feel it defeats the joy of crockpotting.

xox
steph

Anonymous said...

I have been a lurker for several months now. Add me to the list of people who are already hating seeing the year of crockpotting end. Question- after the new year will this site still be available, or should I hurry and copy all of the recipes that look good that I haven't done yet before the end of the year?

Kristi said...

I wouldn't use the chocolate bark regardless - it's just oily nasty stuff that doesn't even taste like chocolate IMO.

These sound so easy! I think I'll make them for NYE.

AzĂșcar said...

I'm with Kristi--you're lucky you didn't find the chocolate bark; it's disgusting stuff. Bark doesn't taste like chocolate, it tastes like wax flavored chocolate product. Yech.

It's best to do what you did: chocolate chips have more than enough stabilizers to be able to make these without tempering chocolate.

Carry on.

Billie Jean said...

These are the BOMB! My recipe is slightly different:
2 jars lightly salted cocktail peanuts, 2 pkg Almond Bark(look in your produce section or ask someone there), 1 pkg semi sweet choc chips and 1 Hershey bar. Another tip ---- I lay out all the cookie sheets/pans I have, scoop them all out then put them outside on the porch for about 15 minutes and they're cool. Today is the day I'm making them since it's 22 outside this morning! LOL

Micki said...

You rock. Nuff said. :)

Now, unfortunately, I am one of those people who needs help with every detail of a recipe, so... If I do pretzels instead of nuts, how much? Would one of those pounder bags be too much? (I am going to use a 6 qt cooker)

TIA!!!

Amie said...

I think I'm gonna make them again, cuz I have neighbors who gave me treats this year who I didn't think we were very close to but evidently close enough to exchange sweet treats with for the first time ever and anyway I only got one and my husband got none and well, that's just not right.

Thanks for the vid link. =)

Tracy said...

I actually would like to use the chocolate bark, because I have a package sitting in the cupboard. But I can't seem to find the recipe on Susan's website. Do you substitute it for all the chocolate? Or just some of the chocolate?

Jenn said...

I am really going to miss a recipe every day when you stop!

Jamie E said...

I love how you have this labeled "breakfast" as well as "candy"!

Sarah said...

You should totally continue crockpot posting on this blog next year. If you quit, what are you gonna dream about at night???

Carolyn said...

I have a question about the German's chocolate.

you have it listed as 2 8oz. packages - my store only sold it in 4oz (all other varieties were in 8oz) so I used 4 packages...but then it seemed like a LOT of chocolate. Was yours 8oz or 4?

thanks!

Crockpot Lady said...

OH NO!
Carolyn you are RIGHT----the box is 4 ounces!
oh no!
can you dig it out?

xox
steph

Cathy said...

Yummy, yummy, yummy!!!

MemeGRL said...

One warning to anyone about to try this: I have one of those new/runs hot crockpots and mine burned the chocolate and peanuts on the bottom, even after only 2 hours on low---very sad! The top wasn't even fully melted yet. So do break the no-peeking crockpot rule with this one if yours runs hot.
I am not daunted though and am trying again with the pretzels tomorrow!

Rachel said...

These are cooling on my counter now, I am half tempted to stick them in the freezer overnight... my husband will be up before I am, and I'm not sure how many will be left if I don't hide them.

LOL. I need to hide them from ME as welll... omg, soooooooo good. I can't wait to try the finished product. It was super easy...

my only complaint was it cost almost $40 to make... although, I, like Carolyn, bought 4 4ounce packages of the German chocolate... luckily I reread the recipe before making them, and you'd altered the instructions by then... maybe going to walmart would have been cheaper, baking ingredients and such are super expensive right now.

Carolyn said...

Ooops...I just made it extra chocolatey I guess, as I used FOUR boxes of 4 oz, in addition to the other chocolate. Holy moly.

But, I also didn't read my package of nuts correctly, so only had 2 1/4 lbs of peanuts and improvised and mixed in a lb of almonds.

Oh, and while they were warm, I sprinkled nonpariel sprinkles on top - they look incredibly festive now! Also, if you put them in your basement, they cool very quickly -- that is, for those of us in New England!

Suzanne said...

I made the pretzel clusters and they turned out great! I used a 4.5 qt pot. One large 60% cacao bar, one bag of Newman's spelt pretzels, one 12 oz bag of chocolate chips, cooked on low for 2 hours, stirred and scooped out in groups of 3-4 pretzels. They stuck together in nice cookie-sized pieces. YUM!!

Ali G said...

I did this for my co-workers and it turned out great! I wonder how I could add marshmallows to make it "rocky road" without them melting??

Kate in PA said...

OMGosh -- I just found this blog for the first time, and I read that you may not be posting everyday in 2009??? Say it isn't so!
I LOVE what I've seen so far. I can't wait to check out the rest of your 2008 postings.

Please continue!

B said...

you saved christmas for me! heehee, i am SO behind this year for some reason so i just did a batch of these for our neighbors. i used 1 8 oz box of unsweetened chocolate and 1 8 oz box of semi-sweet + 24 oz. of white chocolate since that's what was in my cupboards. it turned out GREAT!

one question - do the peanuts have to go in with the chocolate or could you just melt the chocolate and stir in the peanuts at the end? just wondering!

Anonymous said...

O.M.G. I made these yesterday for my husband and son and they are sooooooo good! Thank you for posting this! They're like big clumps of Mr. Goodbars!

Carolyn said...

Clearly I am having brain-melt issues - as I went to make a second batch of these tonight, and while I added the correct amount of the semi-sweet, I added twice as much UNsweetened chocolate. I can only imagine how these ones will come out....

Sigh, that's what I get for trying to do this at the end of a long day at work! Here's hoping I didn't blow it....

Crockpot Lady said...

oh no, Carolyn!!

great big hugs.
xox
steph

Carolyn said...

but you know Steph, even a mediocre batch of chocolate and peanuts is an awesome batch of chocolate and peanuts! ;)

(and with sprinkles, they will still look pretty!)

Cameron. Elizabeth. Greta. Austin. said...

I made these yesterday during my Christmas cookie marathon. These were by far the easiest to make. Unfortunately, my crockpot runs super hot and the bottom burnt within 1.5 hours on low. :( They tasted burnt and bitter. I will try again. Can I say that I HATE my crockpot???? I love "crockpotting", just not this one that burns everything, and it's supposed to be a nice one too. I'm going to the Goodwill tomorrow :)

Rosemary said...

You don't have to "sort of hate me ..." :-) But thanks for the warning. I did make them at night - I just stayed up late and ate them! The survivors were fine by morning.

I made these and gave as many as I could bear to part with to most of our friends. One friend has a peanut allergy, so this is the variation I made for her and which I will have to continue to make for my husband - he's hooked!

Instead of the peanuts, I substituted 16 oz of roasted, salted Macadamia nuts. 16 oz roasted salted cashews, and 16 oz fresh raw pecan halves, which I had cut in half crosswise (thereby ending up with quarters). Since I didn't use lightly salted varieties of Macadamias or cashews, there seemed to be plenty of salt even with the unsalted, fresh pecans.

I'm with everybody else - dreading the new year and no more daily posts!!! There's still time to reconsider ... :-)

Shana said...

oh my! I made these Christmas Eve as a gift for my chocolate loving grandma......they were SOOOO yummy! Super easy to make too!

Marjorie said...

Thanks for the recipe!
DD is allergic to peanuts, so I used a 16 oz bag of Utz pretzel wheels and followed the rest of the recipe. I used less chocolate chips -- one 10 oz bag plus more from another bag until it looked covered. I think my crockpot was around 3 or 4 quarts and it was perfectly filled -- maybe 4/5.

Though my crockpot isn't particularly hot, the idea of burned chocolate was too much to contemplate, so I started checking and stirring after an hour and a half (it's chocolate, no worries about undercooked meat). After 3 hours total, I started putting clusters of 2 pretzels onto a metal pan and popped it into the freezer. When I was done filling a second pan, pan 1 was set and I put the clusters into a container and into the fridge. Since I had to make dinner at that point, I just left the rest of the batch on low in the crockpot. Later, I continued my practice of filling a pan, freezing it, filling another pan, removing pan 1, putting pan 2 into freezer, etc. So easy, and much less tempting than filling my kitchen with cooling chocolate covered pretzels!

Also, my pretzels didn't get soggy at all (I sampled some!), maybe they weren't as crisp, but they were still crunchy. Once they were set, well, they were divine!

thanks again!

earthcharms said...

Mmmm! I made a small batch of these a few weeks ago and they disappeared so quickly!

Now I am making them for Valentine's Day presents. I'm making milk chocolate peanuts, dark chocolate walnuts, and I'm going to venture over to the coconut side and make haystacks! Thank you so much for this great recipe. :D

Rhonda Parker said...

Wow ~ I never thought of making these in the crockpot before...

may I share with you my recipe?

Of course, this doesn't make 150, but it could easily be doubled/tripled/quadrupled. :)

I use 1 bag of chocolate chips (I like dark chocolate, so I use semi-sweet), and mix it with a teaspoon of oil; optional: add 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Stir it all together in a microwavable bowl.

Microwave for 1 minute.
Stir.
Microwave for 30 seconds.
Stir.

now, here's the fabulous part - you can throw in peanuts, sunflower seeds (really good with white choc chips; but you have to watch the microwave time as it melts differently); pretzels, grapes, anything you want that you could eat chocolate-covered. Then, drop onto the waxed/parchment paper, and let cool.... VERY QUICK and easy.. this is also the same recipe I use to make homemade chocolate-covered strawberries. So delicious... I've even thrown in oats and rice krispie cereal to make it a little healthier

Leigh said...

I know I'm late coming to this party, but for those with peanut allergies, these are DELICIOUS with roasted edamame (soybeans). Just sayin...

Jonathan said...

AMAZING holiday treats. Just made them for the 3rd year in a row.

TIME and SPACE SAVER: I recommend slapping the whole chocolate-peanut blob on parchment paper (as opposed to individual scoops), spreading it out thin, and gently cutting a grid into it with a large knife. Then when it cools, it readily breaks apart into the individual pieces.

Woo hoo!

Maegan said...

Great candy that is addicting and easy to make.

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