How to Melt Chocolate for Peanut Clusters


Peanut clusters are a simple confection made of roasted peanuts and chocolate. Once the chocolate has been melted, the peanuts are mixed in and the mixture is dropped by the spoonful onto a parchment-lined pan. The potentially tricky part of this process is melting the chocolate. The melting chocolate cannot tolerate drops of water or even the steam from a double boiler. Moisture will cause the chocolate to seize and become a grainy mess.

Things You'll Need

  • Double boiler or pot and stainless steel bowl
  • Spatula or wooden spoon
  • Microwave-safe bowl

Double Boiler Method

  • Fill a saucepan with 1/4 inch of water and place it on the stove. Place either another pan of the same size on top or a stainless steel bowl that completely covers the opening in the bottom pot.

  • Turn the heat on low.

  • Place the chocolate for the clusters in the top pot or stainless steel bowl.

  • Check to make sure the water underneath isn't boiling. The chocolate shouldn't be warmer than 115 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the temperature of tepid water.

  • Stir the chocolate frequently with a spatula or wooden spoon.

  • Take the bowl or top pot off of the double boiler when the chocolate is melted and stir until smooth.

Microwave Method

  • Place even-sized pieces of chocolate in a microwave-safe dish and place it in the microwave.

  • Set the microwave at 50 percent power.

  • Start the microwave and check every 90 seconds. When the chocolate looks almost ready -- still solid but soft -- it's ready. Stir until smooth.

Tips & Warnings

  • With the double-boiler method, the water in the bottom should be hot but not boiling. If the bottom pan begins to steam at low heat, you should move the pot to a smaller burner.
  • Make sure the chocolate is broken into similarly sized pieces for even melting.
  • Do not cover the top pot or bowl of the double boiler. Condensation will drip into the chocolate and interfere with the melting process.

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