V Day: Chocolate Cereal Nut Clusters
It's Valentine's Day, that lovely Hallmark holiday that makes us all want to eat chocolate.
I was reading last month's issue of Food & Wine Magazine with a guide to the hippest spots in Paris, and noticed famous chef Alain Ducasse is now selling these milk chocolate corn flake clusters in his Parisian chocolate shop Le Chocolat, on Rue de la Roquette in the 11eme.
I think he stole a good old fashioned American recipe from my neighbor Betty!
I look forward to every Christmas, when Betty rings my doorbell with her tray of special Christmas cookies, including these delicious cornflake chocolate nut clusters.
Here, Monsieur Ducasse is a little more sophisticated, adding toasted hazelnuts, pistachios and raisins, but he still uses those good old Corn Flakes along with feuilletine flakes (which are buttery, toasty chards of crunch, available only in France).
I had no corn flakes, so used a box of cinnamon Chex, which my husband likes to snack on in front of the tv. Yes, I did, don't judge.
I opted for dark chocolate (Trader Joe's Belgian 72%), instead of milk, but it's your choice.
You can also swap in a different kind of nut, like almonds or walnuts.
I made big cookie size clusters, but I think next time I will make teaspoon size clusters.
These were tres magnifique!
Chocolate Cereal Nut Clusters (adapted from Alain Ducasse, really):
8 oz. of milk or dark chocolate (I used half of that huge bar of Trader Joe's Belgian 72% dark)
1/4 cup of pistachio nuts
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
1/4 cup of golden raisins, chopped
1 1/2 cups of corn flakes or cinnamon Chex cereal
1/2 tsp of kosher salt
If using Chex cereal, using the back of a measuring cup, smash the pieces so they become smaller.
Toast the hazelnuts on a tray in the toaster oven (careful, the burn easily), and rub off the skins with a dish towel.
Chop and add them to the bowl with the cereal, pistachios and chopped raisins. Mix together with your hands.
In a large Pyrex glass measuring cup, break up your chocolate bar and microwave about 50 seconds. Break down the chocolate with a rubber spatula. You may need to heat about another 20 seconds.
Stir the chocolate until completely creamy and melted.
Pour into the bowl w/ the nut cereal mix.
On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, drop lumps of the mixture onto the tray.
Let harden in the fridge about 30 minutes. Store a few days in covered tin or container.
Enjoy and Happy Valentine's Day sweeties.