Chocolate Peanut Clusters

Grandpa Grandma Dad

Grandma Dora, Grandpa and my Dad in the yard on their farm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Grandpa was quite a bit older than my Grandma Dora, about ten years her senior. He had probably decided he was going to be a bachelor for life before he met and fell in love with Grandma. They had grown up so differently. She, an only child, raised in town, not having to worry about where the next meal would come from. Grandpa, one of the five children, who had to be “farmed out” to family and friends to be raised after his mother died because his father couldn’t do it on his own. Their backgrounds didn’t matter though. What they had, was faithful love for each other, with God at the center of their relationship. What a wonderful example they set.

They chose the difficult life of dairy farming and while they didn’t have much, they did what they could to make holidays special. Purchasing a few things as they could, but making many things homemade. I’m sure Grandma Dora made this recipe for Chocolate Peanut Clusters for Grandpa for Valentine’s Day. I can picture her candies in a simple metal tin with a red, cloth ribbon around it.

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Chocolate Peanut Clusters

  • 1 – 3 oz package chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup salted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine first four ingredients in heavy pan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.  Lower heat and cook slowly for three minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and quickly stir in peanuts and vanilla.  Beat until candy thickens and begins to lose its gloss.  Drop from teaspoon onto waxed paper, forming into clusters.

Candy1I began by combining the pudding mix, sugar and butter into my saucepan.

Candy2Then I added the evaporated milk.

Candy3I whisked everything together on a medium heat and brought it to a boil.  Then lowered the heat and continued to stir it for three minutes.

Candy4After the timer went off, I pulled it off of the heat and added the vanilla and salted peanuts.

Candy5It was looking delicious!  I stirred it until it started to thicken.

Candy7I dropped it by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper (I sprayed it with cooking spray, just incase.) that I had spread out before I began.

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I let them cool on the wax paper for a couple of hours.  As they cooled, they harded and I was able to peel them off of the waxed paper.

Chocolate Peanut Clusters are an easy homemade candy to make.  It tastes like fudge!  I hope you’ll enjoy making them for your loved ones, as much as I know Grandma Dora enjoyed making them for my Grandpa.

Happy Cooking and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wendy

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Caramel Corn – A Bonus Recipe

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It is time for our annual Christmas Vacation Party!  This party tradition started many years ago when my brother and I would watch Garfield’s Christmas together to celebrate the start of vacation from school for Christmas.  It’s changed over the years – some years we added playing the Andy Griffith Show board game (we are the masters of this game – don’t even try to compete with my family’s knowledge of Andy Griffith Show trivia!), decorating Christmas cookies, wearing our pajamas to the party (my sister-in-law thought of this idea a few years ago) and I almost always make caramel corn to go with the other party food.  I thought you might enjoy trying this recipe for your own Christmas get togethers, but let me warn you, this stuff if addicting!
Caramel Corn
  • 8 quarts plain popped popcorn
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
  • 1 pound (2 cups) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Karo Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda OR 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon vanilla
    Pop the popcorn and put it in the oven at 250 degrees to keep warm. Melt butter in saucepan and add other ingredients.  Boil 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon baking soda, OR 1/2 teaspoon soda and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  When it begins to foam up, pour it over the popcorn and mix well.  Divide evenly between to pans and place back in the oven. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour.  Stir every 15 minutes. Spread on cookie sheets to cool.  Store in a sealed container.
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    First, I popped the popcorn and placed it in two pans.
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    I added two cups of peanuts to the popcorn, because I like peanuts in caramel corn.  I then put it in the 250 degree oven to keep warm (keeping the popcorn warm helps the caramel to spread better).
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    Next, I melted the butter in a saucepan.
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    After the butter was melted, I added the brown sugar, Karo syrup and salt.
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    I brought the ingredients to a boil and let them boil for 5 minutes.
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    I then added a tablespoon of baking soda and it foamed up nicely.
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    I poured the caramel mixture over the two pans of popcorn.
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    I stirred until it was evenly coated.
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    I baked it in the oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  I then put it out on cookie sheets to cool.
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    The results were delicious as you can see!
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    I know my family will enjoy this crunchy caramel corn with its sweet and salty taste at our Christmas Vacation Party!  I hope you will make up a batch and enjoy it as well!
    Happy Baking!  Amy