While candy isn’t necessarily difficult to make, many recipes are time consuming, so allow plenty of time.
For the candies that are dipped in a flavored coating, such as melted chocolate or peanut butter chips, do not omit the shortening. The shortening is what makes the coating set and harden on the candy. Also, don’t use butter in place of shortening, or it will be oily. When my mom first started making candy, all the recipes called for paraffin wax, which is no longer recommended, so now she uses vegetable shortening, with great results, even though it’s not the healthiest choice.
If you’d rather not use shortening, an online search suggests substituting melted almond bark or candy melts for the baking chips and shortening. Feel free to research it further for additional options and suggestions, as well as comments and results from those who have used these substitutions.
Crockpot Nut Clusters
Cooked in a slow-cooker, these nut clusters couldn’t be simpler. A few years ago, Mom put a twist on this favorite, in the form of white chocolate cashew clusters – and now they’re another requested favorite. To make them, simply replace the German’s sweet chocolate baking bar with premium white chocolate baking bar, the milk chocolate chips with white chocolate chips, and the peanuts with cashew pieces.
• 12 ounces German’s sweet chocolate baking bar
• 1 package (12 ounces) milk chocolate chips
• 1-1/2 packages (24 ounces each) vanilla almond bark
• 1 jar (16 ounces) unsalted dry roasted peanuts
• 1 jar (16 ounces) lightly salted dry roasted peanuts
1. Place baking bar, chocolate chips and almond bark in a slow cooker. Add peanuts to the top (if nuts are on the bottom, they’ll burn). Do not stir. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours.
2. Stir well to blend. Drop mixture by teaspoons onto cookie sheets lined with waxed paper. Refrigerate until clusters are firm and set.
3. Store in zipper-seal plastic bags or an airtight container with a lid.
Make sure to stock up on holiday goodies this year! See Easy Christmas Candy Recipes and Holiday Cookie Recipes for more ideas.