I’m not saying that every woman needs to know how to make her own candy, but I’m saying here and now that every woman should know how to make her own candy. Because candy is delicious and personal independence doubly so.
My BFF Heather (who is probably one of the coolest, funniest, sweetest people alive–she works in an animal shelter, is an artists’ model, loves Doctor Who, strangely used to carpool with Aubrey Plaza in middle school and she was one of the two friends who skipped prom to see Star Wars with me) shared her mom’s recipe for peanut clusters with me when I was 15 years old and it has been my go-to recipe every since.
It’s super easy, super delicious and you can even make it in a dorm room with nothing but a hot top or microwave. I know this because I made it many, many times in my Boston University dorm room using only a tiny microwave.
What you will need:
>> Butterscotch chips (keep in mind that you will need 2 parts butterscotch chips to however many chocolate chips you use)
>> Chocolate chips (can be dark, semi-sweet, milk or super fancy and expensive–it all depends on how sweet or super fancy you want the peanut clusters to be)
>> Peanuts (the original recipe calls for “Spanish Peanuts”, but since those are hard to find, you can also use plain peanuts–a typical 10.5 oz tin for every 1 part butterscotch chips usually works, but it’s up to you how many peanuts you want)
>> Wax paper (you might not think so, but this is incredibly important)
>> A microwave safe bowl (if you want to use your microwave)
>> A medium sized pot and slightly bigger metal bowl (if you want to be fancy and use your stove top–I will explain)
>> A spoon (you may not believe this, but a spoon is a very good kitchen tool to have)
>> To not be allergic to peanuts or chocolate!!!! (I’m very sorry if you have allergies that prevent you from enjoying these delicious peanut clusters, but if you have these allergies, please do not attempt this recipe because basically it’s just lumps of chocolate with peanuts in them. So if you eat just one, you could potentially go all My Girl on us and the internet doesn’t want that)
How you will make them:
1. Put TWO parts butterscotch chips and ONE part chocolate chips together in a bowl that can be safely heated.
This means you will use either 2 bags of butterscotch chips and 1 bag of chocolate chips or 1 bag of butterscotch chips and 1/2 bag of chocolate chips or, if you’re feeling really hungry and ambitious, 2,000 bags of butterscotch and 1,000 bags of butterscotch chips.
Guys, math is easy. You can figure this out.
2. Melt the chips together.
There are many ways you can melt butterscotch and chocolate chips. You can always leave them in the sunlight on a hot day for a few hours, but that’s messy and hard to contain.
My original recipe called for microwaving them together for a two minutes, then stirring them. Then microwaving them for one minute, then stirring. And then microwaving them for minute intervals, while stopping to stir. This is the easiest, fastest way to melt your butterscotch and chocolate chips together.
However, a year and a half ago, I put my all of my chocolate and butterscotch chips in my mother’s high-powered microwave and disaster struck. The chocolate burned. It was the saddest day of my candy-making life.
Since then, I’ve adopted the fancy stove top method (aka “double-boiler” style) of melting my chips.
As you can see in the photo above, I’ve got my roommate’s medium sized pot on a burner. I put about an inch of water in the pot and let it heat to a low boil. The steam from the low boil hits the bottom of the metal bowl, so then it’s the steam that’s heating the bowl and not the open flame. This makes the chocolate less likely to burn and cause candy catastrophe. It also means that it’s easier to blend the butterscotch and chocolate together as they melt. It also means you now know a really great method of melting chocolate that can be used for other recipes like these cheesecake brownies.
You’re going to have make sure that all the chips are melted and that there are no lumps. There are still lumps in the photo above. You don’t want this. You want a smooth, creamy mixture for the next step.
3. Add the peanuts to your chocolate-butterscotch dream bowl.
Turn off your heating appliance (not to sound like Smokey the Bear, but only you can prevent kitchen fires) and carefully put your hot (!!!) bowl of melted chocolate and butterscotch chips on a heat-resistant surface.
Slowly add the peanuts and then mix them into the melted goo deliciousness. Add more peanuts and stir some more. Keep adding peanuts and stirring until you have your desired amounts of peanuts or there are no more peanuts left to stir.
4. Spoon the peanut clusters onto wax paper to cool.
Remember how I said the wax paper was important? It is now.
Lay your wax paper out on table top surface or onto a cookie sheet.
Carefully spoon the heavenly butterscotch-chocolate-peanut mixture you have concocted into clusters onto the wax paper. You can make these clusters as small as one peanut or the size of a plate. I usually go for cookie size.
Let the clusters cool. Once they are solid you can eat them. Because they cooled on wax paper, you don’t have to wash anything up (besides the original mixing bowl and spoon). You just throw the wax paper away and you’re done.
5. Optional - Put the peanut clusters in the fridge to cool faster.
I am not very patient, so rather than waiting a few hours I like to put my wax paper on a metal cookie sheet and then I put the cookie sheet in the fridge (or freezer) for about a half hour (or ten minutes). This makes the peanut clusters cool faster which means you get to eat them faster.
How you will eat them:
A few final notes:
Feel free to play around with this recipe. The butterscotch is very sweet, so you shouldn’t have to use milk chocolate unless you want it to be ludicrously sweet. I believe I tried peanut butter chips one time, but I can’t remember if it was good or not, so it was probably just middling. I’m sure dried fruit or other nuts would work in lieu of peanuts. Theoretically, you could dip strawberries or pretzels in the melted concoction, too.
I have no idea what the dietary value of these are. I just know that they are so amazing that a boy once asked me to marry him after eating one. We are not married because I have professional dreams that I wish to attain prior to any lifetime commitment to any other human being.
You should probably only make these once or twice a year, because you will eat way too many of them in one sitting. I usually only make them during the holidays. They are easy to put into a nice box and give to people as gifts that seem expensive.
A single batch shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes to prep, hence you can now “Make Your Own Candy In 15 Minutes or Less”.