Winter is an insanely busy time for any active family, but when you’re trying to prepare for the season’s holidays with a house full of kids and all of the commitments that come with them, just getting a decent meal on the table every night can seem like an insurmountable challenge. It’s safe to say all those new, creative, crock pot meal recipes that have been bouncing around cyberspace are popular for a very good reason.
You’ve learned how to make luscious creamed corn and a to-die-for pizza in your new best friend. If you haven’t tried those recipes yet, keep them in mind. They’ll be a welcome addition to your arsenal as you continue to do battle with your overcrowded schedule over the next month or so as things go from insanely busy to I’ll-sleep-when-I’m-dead chaotic. Both of those creations are well received by hungry families and save hassled parents a ton of time.
We’re in love with slow cookers now that we’ve discovered their ability to turn out something beyond smothered pork chops and all-day-away chili. Once you’re done with your creamed corn or pizza, clean out that crock and warm it up again, for the best slow cooker recipe of all. Chocolate nut clusters will blow your mind. They’re so decadent and so simple that you’ll never be able to convince your friends you made them while you watched the kids make glitter snowmen and clothespin reindeer.
Just throw everything in the slow cooker, and while your kids are beautifying your home for the holidays and you’re sweeping up glitter and scraping glue off the floor, these nutty treats will be getting ready for the holiday candy tray. By the time you’ve caught up with the craft project, your nut clusters will be ready to devour, believe it or not!
Candy making doesn’t have to be a science experiment with broken glass thermometers and burned fingers. All you need to do is get yourself a variety of nuts and chocolate chips when you go shopping. Three kinds of each works out quite well. The source recipe for this one used 12-ounce bags of shelled walnuts, peanuts and salted pecans, all of them roasted. If you have problems finding the nuts you want to use pre-roasted don’t panic. All you need to do is scatter them across a jelly roll pan and toast them in your own oven. Dump your bags of milk, semi-sweet, and dark chocolate chips in the slow cooker, and add your nuts after toasting.
As tempting as it is, don’t lift the lid to peek, this recipe needs the even heat of a closed slow cooker on low. Keep an eye on your slow cooker, and make sure you don’t let the mixture overcook, scraping burnt chocolate off the bottom of a crock isn’t a big holiday hit.
Once an hour has passed, stir your concoction and let it cook for two more minutes. After a final mix, you’ll lay out sheets of waxed paper on baking sheets and drop the chocolaty mass by the spoonful onto the paper. Keep them about an inch apart so they remain distinct, separate mounds. After you have portioned all of your chocolate and nut mixture, find a level space in your refrigerator for them and leave them there until they have hardened all the way through.
Once your clusters have set up, you can eat them right away. Any survivors of the first sampling session should be stored in a well-sealed plastic container. If you know you can’t trust yourself with them, give your leftovers as a gift, and just make a new batch next time you get the urge. They’re so easy and delicious, you’ll have no problem putting them together when your sweet tooth demands it.