So, this Chocolate Peanut Cornflake Crunch recipe started as a fail.
Originally I set out to make Chocolate Peanut Cornflake Clusters, inspired by a recipe by – of all people – the famous classical French chef Alain Ducasse. I can’t even remember where I saw the recipe, but it sent me into the internet to see what people were doing to marry chocolate and cornflakes together.
Having fallen hard for haystacks in recent years, I am always open to something crunchy being covered in chocolate, often plus other stuff. Plus not being baked, which sometimes is a winning thought in itself (oven occupied; too hot to bake).
Haystacks are made with chow mein noodles and therefore densely crunchy. I was intrigued and attracted to the idea of a more delicate crunch.
I thought dried cherries would be a peppy tart-chewy touch, and if I can add crushed peanuts to something I will, so that was my plan. Anyway, what happened was I added too many cornflakes. And the other things. I got greedy. So there wasn’t enough chocolate to stick them all together. So when I went to drop my little cluster mounds on the parchment they just fell apart. So, so sad.
And of course when something like that happens one just has to start eating the shards and consoling oneself that tomorrow is another day, and there is another bag of chocolate chips in the pantry.
But THEN I thought – how stupidly great would these be on top of ice cream?
(This was not exactly rocket science. I did not look around to see if someone was going to pop up from behind a chair and present me with a Nobel prize. People have been putting crunchy things and chocolate on ice cream for at least a few years now. I used to work at a TCBY, for god’s sake.)
So we scooped up some ice cream, chocolate and salted caramel, which was what happened to be hanging out in the freezer. And we sprinkled.
In the immortal works of Spinal Tap, and it was good.
Dried Fruit and Chocolate
Use whatever dried fruit you like. I have some dried pears that seem like they would be a super fine option for another day – just chop whatever you choose into pretty tiny pieces. Even though you are not going to get a full on cluster with this ratio of chocolate to other things, you want some of the bits and pieces to stick together via the chocolate. Next time I want to use half milk chocolate and half semi-sweet. But you can use whatever chocolate you like.
Also if you use another cup of chips I’m thinking you will get actual Clusters. Which I will try. But not today. Because today we are happy with our Crunch.
To crush the peanuts, but not so finely that they become a powder, place them in a sturdy zipper top bag and use a rolling pin or a can of beans or anything else to roll over them and crush them up a bit. You want some bigger pieces, and some smaller, and there will be some powder, but you do want texture.
Melting Chocolate in the Microwave
If you have the capacity to use a “melt” function on your microwave, or at least reduce the power to medium or medium-high, do that. The whole melting process should take about 2 minutes, but it will definitely vary from microwave to microwave. go for 20 minute bursts, and stir in between each burst, to prevent burning. Stirring in the last handful or two of chips after the chocolate comes out of the microwave is kind of like a poor-mans-tempering, which allow the chocolate to firm up a bit more.
Lastly, a drizzle of chocolate or caramel sauce onto the ice cream before the Crunch goes on would not be out of line.
If you wanted to sprinkle this on yogurt instead of ice cream, surely you could. And then it become health food.
Other Chocolate Recipes:
Chocolate Peanut Cornflake Crunch
- 1 cup salted cocktail peanuts crushed
- 3 ½ cups cornflakes
- ½ cup chopped dried cherries or cranberries
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips divided
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the peanuts, cornflakes, and dried cherries in a medium sized mixing bowl.
- Place the 3/4 of the semisweet chocolate chips in a small microwave safe bowl and microwave in 20 second bursts, stirring in between each period, until the chocolate is melted and smooth (see Recipe Intro). Remove from the microwave, and add the rest of the chocolate chips in a few batches, stirring until each batch is melted before adding the rest. This will help the chocolate firm up nicely – like a modified tempering, which is what real pastry chefs and candy makers do.
- Pour half of the chocolate over the cornflake mixture, and gently fold so that it starts to coat the mixture. Add the rest of the chocolate and fold again until everything is fairly well-coated, though you might see a peep of naked cherry or cornflake, which is nice.
- Drop the mixture by the tablespoon onto the parchment paper and let it firm up (as discussed, it won’t adhere into a cohesive single perfect cluster, but some bits will stick together). In warmer weather, this may necessitate a brief stint in the fridge.
- So, at this point when you pick up the clusters they will fall apart a bit. This is now what was intended. Scoop bowls of ice cream and distribute the Crunch over the tops.
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