This post about these awesome cherry almond clusters is a tad later that what I was planning on, but they are just too good not to write about and share with you.
You see, I actually made these cherry almond clusters before Christmas. In fact, I was trying to figure out a great combination of yummy, good things to surround with chocolate to give as Christmas gifts, along with the peppermint hazelnut clusters.
In fact, these (cherry almond clusters) came before those (peppermint hazelnut clusters). The cherry almond clusters were going to be the clusters, and the peppermint hazelnut clusters were actually going to be bark. But I kept having issues with the bark not turning out exactly as I wanted, and Christmas was coming up fast. So the peppermint hazelnut bark turned into peppermint hazelnut clusters because…reasons. (BTW, if you are looking for ideas for Christmas presents, take a look at this post.)
Well, the reason was because this cluster thing is pretty easy and nice and bite size. OK, 3-bite size, but you get the idea.
So, anyway… back to cherry almond clusters. I was trying to think of what I could put together to get the right kind of sweet, crunch, chew and kick. I wanted people to take a bite and go, “Wow. Whoa! Oh, yeah! Yummmmmmmmm.”
And since it is winter, and cherries aren’t really in season, it was going to have to be dried cherries. But not whole. Too big. So, I chopped them. Not too big. Not too small. Just right, Goldilocks. Just right.
Hmmm. I’ve got some dried blueberries in the cupboard, too. Why not add a few of those?
OK, we’ve got our chew and sweet. Now, what is our crunch?
Almonds! Duh? Always good. And, we have our crunch, ladies and gentlemen.
Now, what is the kick?
Jalapenos? No! Too much kick.
Tabasco sauce? No, that’s just silly.
Ginger? Ooooo, yeah. Crystallized ginger. (That means coated in sugar, so that is always good.)
Well, there. I had it. Now, let’s throw it all in some chocolate, and see how it tastes.
Oooooooooooooooh, yeah! We have ourselves a winner. I just love it when a plan comes together.
Even though another Christmas has passed us by, you can still make these beautiful little gems and indulge. Or give them as a gift anyway. Maybe a birthday is coming up? Or Valentines Day. Or, I-want-to-celebrate-myself-and-how-awesome-I-am-by-giving-myself-a-scrumptious-treat Day. Whatever works, right?
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