Thank you Basha Pyzik for this famously popular recipe!
Dark chocolate with at least 60% cacao is best. I prefer 70-86%. You can use the Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Chips to eliminate chopping and measuring. Though breaking up the chocolate bars with your fingers is easy. Chopped coconut may be used in place of the sea salt, but I prefer the flaked sea salt. It’s expensive, so I sprinkle it on carefully. The bright white of the flaked sea salt looks dramatic next to the dark chocolate. It adds a crunchy mineral taste to the clusters. You need less than a teaspoon for these 50-60 clusters.
Toast the walnuts in a hot oven and then cool thoroughly!
Break the chocolate in pieces before melting in the microwave.
Toasted walnuts, melted chocolate and flaked sea salt are ready to go.
Pour the chocolate over the walnuts in a larger bowl
Mix well with a rubber spatula to completely coat the walnuts. Mix several times through the cluster making process.
Set aside a small container of flaked sea salt
Carefully spoon about 2 walnut halves or so with a teaspoon onto a pan lined with wax or parchment paper.
- Measure equal parts dark chocolate pieces and walnuts. I use a 12 oz bag of walnuts and 3 – 4 oz bars of chocolate.
- Toast walnuts in a 400 degree F oven for 10 minutes or until aromatic. COOL thoroughly!
- Slowly melt chocolate in the microwave until just till barely melted. The chocolate should be thick. If it is thin, let it sit at room temp or cool in the frig until it’s thick. You’ll end up with pools of chocolate beneath the clusters if the chocolate is too thin. Add a little vanilla if you want.
- Place the toasted walnuts in a larger bowl and pour the chocolate over them. Mix with a rubber spatula to completely coat all the little crevices of the walnuts.
- Using a teaspoon place about 2 walnut halves in a cluster onto a tray lined with wax or parchment paper.
- Depending on the size clusters you will make about 50-60 clusters.
- If you have chocolate left over, add more walnuts to make extra clusters.
- Carefully place a few pieces of flaked sea salt onto each cluster.
- Chill in the refrigerator until hardened, about an hour. Other nuts may be used and you may also add dried cherries to the mix.
Nutrition Notes: Research indicates that the flavanol antioxidants (mostly epicatechin, catechin & procyanidins) increase vascular dilation and improve blood flow, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. The flavanols in chocolate work by increasing the levels and action of nitric oxide, a naturally occurring compound in the body that acts as a vasodilator, increases insulin sensitivity and slows down the artherosclerotic process. The darker the chocolate, the more the flavanols. Cocoa powder contains the most. 60% is good, but 70% dark chocolate is better. Yes! White chocolate contains no flavanol.
Walnuts are rich in mono and poly unsaturated fats and are a whole plant food fat. They have not been processed as olive oils and other nut oils, so are not stripped of their natural fiber, vitamins, minerals & phytochemicals. They are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids which we do not eat enough