Chocolate and nuts are made for each other and with a little sprinkling of sea salt to bring out the natural flavors of both, these Chocolate Almond Clusters are a treat for those who like that addicting combination of sweet and salty. These are so quick and easy to make you’ll find yourself making them more often than just National Chocolate with Almonds Day.
While not pretending that almonds wrapped up in chocolate are good for you, there are some health benefits of both almonds and chocolate. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, which is the same type of health-promoting fats found in olive oil and have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease. Data from the Nurses Health Study estimated that substituting almonds for an equivalent amount of carbohydrate in an average diet resulted in a 30% reduction of heart disease risk.
Chocolate has been valued for hundreds of years for its healing and nutritional powers, such as strengthening the heart. Dark chocolate is best when it comes to health benefits as its loaded with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that help prevent plaque build-up in blood vessels. The specific flavonoids found in dark chocolate, called phenols, are also found in red wine so enjoy these Chocolate Almond Clusters with a glass of red wine for National Chocolate with Almonds Day!
Because dark chocolate contains the most flavonoids, look for quality dark chocolate that is about 70% cocoa for this recipe. For the almonds, buy raw unsalted almonds. Local Trader Joe’s sells large bars of dark chocolate and bags of raw unsalted almonds at great prices. They also sell small jars of sea salt perfect for sprinkling on top of these Chocolate Almond Clusters with Sea Salt.
8 ounces good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
2 cups raw, whole unsalted almonds
• Melt the chopped chocolate. These are several methods of melting chocolate: in the microwave (make sure you microwave it in 15-second intervals, stirring in between, until just melted and smooth); on the stovetop in a saucepan (make sure you melt the chocolate over very low heat, stirring constantly until the chocolate is just melted and smooth); and (my preference) in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl of chocolate does not touch the water).
• As soon as the chocolate is melted and smooth, add the almonds and stir well to completely coat all almonds with the chocolate.
• Using a tablespoon, drop chocolate almond mixture onto a sheet of wax paper to cool.
• While the chocolate is still warm and has not set yet, sprinkle each cluster with a pinch of sea salt.
• Let the clusters cool completely until chocolate is firm. Store in sealed container away from heat or direct sunlight.
Chocolate Almond Clusters with Sea Salt are also delicious made with milk chocolate if you’re not a fan of dark chocolate.
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