Things have been so busy lately. I don’t know if it’s just that it is the holidays or I have piled too much on my plate but I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed the last couple of weeks.
For the most part, I am pretty good with time management and organization but lately I just don’t have enough hours in the day and my to-do lists are getting longer and longer.
One thing I crossed off my massive, headache-inducing to do list the other day was, “make homemade candy for soccer coach”. This Friday is my sons last day of soccer after two sessions with the same (awesome!) coach and we wanted to make sure we brought something festive as a little way of saying thanks. Thanks for being patient, thanks for making toddler soccer fun and most of all, thanks for planting the early seeds of teamwork!
These Salted Maple Cashew Clusters are just that, easy to make and a completely kid-friendly kitchen project. I really hope Coach Kevin likes them because it was a serious challenge to keep them out of the hands of my son and husband the last couple of days!
- Here is an excellent piece on How and Why to Temper Chocolate courtesy of David Lebovitz.
- I used Scharffen Berger 62% Semisweet Dark Chocolate Bars (4 of them since each one is 3 ounces). While it is Gluten Free, it is unfortunately not free of soy lecithin so use whatever chocolate you are comfortable with!
- I like to use a double boiler to melt large amounts of chocolate to prevent burning.
- 2 cups raw whole cashews
- 2 Tablespoons pure grade B Maple Syrup
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt + more for finishing (see NOTES)
- 12 ounces 62% Semisweet Dark Chocolate (see NOTES)
- Begin by lining 2 baking sheets (1 large and 1 small) with parchment paper and set aside. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, add cashews and toast, turning frequently, until slightly brown and soft, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Remove to a mixing bowl and toss with maple syrup, vanilla extract and ¼ tsp coarse sea salt.
- Transfer to small parchment lined baking sheet (in a single layer) and allow to cool completely, about 20 minutes.
- Once cool, begin melting chocolate. I like to break up the chocolate in the wrapper (less messy) and use a double boiler. You could use the microwave but I don't recommend it for this large of an amount of chocolate. See NOTES above for info on tempering.
- Transfer cooled cashews back into mixing bowl and pour melted chocolate over. Use a spatula to toss until well coated.
- Working quickly, use a tablespoon to measure heaps of the cashew-chocolate mixture onto the large parchment lined baking sheet. You should get approximately 24.
- Finish with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt and place in the freezer for 30 minutes to set the chocolate.
- Remove from freezer and allow to come to room temperature. As long as it's not too warm, these should be stable at room temperature. Store in a tin or airtight container and Enjoy!