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Orange Hazelnut Clusters

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Orange Hazelnut Clusters
(c) 2009 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Orange Hazelnut Clusters feature toasted hazelnuts and candied orange peel mixed with bittersweet chocolate. The combination of crunchy nuts, chewy zesty citrus, and rich chocolate ensures new flavors and textures in every bite of this fast, easy candy.

You can use purchased candied orange peel in this recipe, or you can make your own. This recipe yields about twenty 1.5-inch clusters.

Ingredients:

  • 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate (about 1.25 cups chopped)
  • 4.5 ounces toasted hazelnuts (about 1.5 cups whole nuts)
  • 4.75 ounces candied orange peel (about 1 cup)

Preparation:

1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil or waxed paper and set aside for now.

2. Chop the bittersweet chocolate into small pieces and place it in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until melted, stirring after every 45 seconds to prevent overheating. Once the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, set it aside to cool slightly while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

3. Finely chop the toasted hazelnuts. This can be done by hand, or you can put the nuts in a food processor and pulse several times to chop them. Do not overprocess; it is better to have some large pieces than to have hazelnut crumbs.

4. Use a large sharp knife to chop the candied orange peel into small pieces. Add the chopped hazelnuts and candied peel to the melted chocolate. If desired, reserve a few spoonfuls of each to use to decorate the clusters.

5. Stir until the nuts and peel are covered in chocolate and well-mixed. You should have a chunky candy mixture. Use a small candy scoop or tablespoon to scoop up spoonfuls of candy, and drop them in clusters on the prepared baking sheet. While the chocolate is still wet, you can top them with slivers of candied peel or pieces of hazelnut as decoration, if desired.

6. Refrigerate the tray of clusters to set the chocolate, about 20 minutes. Once set, they can be enjoyed immediately, or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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