Friday, January 16, 2015

Nuss Knusperchen: No Bake Dried Fruit & Nut White Chocolate Clusters


I can't remember a time in Germany where these don't exist. These treats were everywhere I went, in stores, at work. I was so excited to have the opportunity to make them myself.



Nuss knusperchen (loosely translated to "crisp nut") are found in the cookie aisle of every supermarket in Germany. The most common type are made with dark and milk chocolate but I like this white chocolate variety. A cross between a cookie and a candy, these treats are especially popular at Christmas. 


Cornflakes, dried fruits and chopped nuts are folded into melted white chocolate, formed into cookie portions and then left to dry on baking sheets.

What I like about them is the endless variety one can create with the recipe just by switching up the types of dried fruits and nuts in the recipe. You can use seasonal ingredients. for example, raisins and walnuts for fall or use dried cherries, cranberries and almonds for a Valentine's Day version.


Nuss Knusperchen: No Bake Dried 
Fruit & Nut White Chocolate Clusters
Prep time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 2 dozen pieces 

Ingredients:
1/2 cup finely chopped dried fruit, mixed varieties (I used kiwi, dried cranberries, papaya)
1/2 cup finely chopped raw nuts (I used walnuts, almonds and pecans)
7 ounces of white candy melts or white chocolate, chopped into pieces 
2 cups cornflakes
For decoration (optional) 2 ounces white candy melts or white chocolate.

Directions:
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. 
  • In a bowl, gently mix together the chopped dried fruits, nuts and cornflakes with your hands until the ingredients are evenly combined. Make sure you work gently, you don't want to pulverize the cornflakes. 
  • In a double boiler, melt the white candy melts or white chocolate. If the mixture seems too thick, you can thin it out by adding one or two teaspoons of vegetable shortening to the mixture and blending it in completely. 
  • Remove the melted mixture from heat and let cool until it is still warm, but not scalding
  • hot.
  • Fold in the dried fruit, nuts, cornflakes mixture into the cooled but still warm mixture. 
  • Use a teaspoon to portion out the cookies onto the baking sheets. Let the treats dry completely before transferring to a plate to serve. 
If you would like to further decorate the cookies:
  • Once the treats have dried completely,   melt the additional 2 ounces of white candy melts or chocolate. 
  • Use a disposable pastry bag fitted with a #3 tip or a small size ziplock bag with a small hole snipped off of one corner. 
  • Place the disposable pastry bag or ziplock in a glass, the tip or snipped hole should be at the bottom of the glass. Fold the sides of the bag over the top of the glass. 
  • Use a small rubber or silicon spatula to scrape the melted white candy melts or chocolate into the pastry bag or ziplock bag. 
  • Close the bag and gently squeeze over the clusters, making a quick zig-zag motion with your hand. Let the chocolate dry completely before serving.
Additionally, instead of offering up the candy on a plate to your guests, you can serve or package them in mini cupcake wrappers with the pattern or color of your choosing.  This creates a prettier presentation and an easier method for the guest to eat them. Make sure to decorate them with the drizzled white chocolate, before placing them in the wrappers.

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