3-Ingredient Chocolate Almond Clusters have a satisfying salty-sweet crunch we can’t get enough of. This no-bake healthy treat comes together quickly and tastes delicious!
We’re easing into the New Year with easy recipes and it doesn’t get much easier than these 3-ingredient chocolate almond clusters!
This no-bake recipe makes the perfect little sweet snack or healthy treat. It’s less sugary than cookies or brownies, but still satisfies your sweet tooth and combines a delicious blend of crunchy, salty, and sweet. 3 of my favorite things!
Here’s what you need
Gather Your Ingredients
- Good Quality Chocolate. We’re talking bars, bricks, blocks, or feves (round oval discs), rather than chocolate chips. I like semi-sweet chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, or dark chocolate. (Somewhere between 60-72% cocoa.) The higher the percentage of cocoa, the more intense and less sweet the chocolate flavor will be.
- Almonds. I recommend using plain roasted almonds/dry roasted almonds (no oil), but you can also make these with raw almonds or lightly salted dry roasted almonds. Avoid added oils as these can mess with the chocolate’s set.
- Flaky Sea Salt. Then, to finish, you’ll need flaky sea salt. I like Maldon salt, because it’s the easiest for me to find, but other brands will totally work. You can even use pink flaky salt like this for a fun finish!
Can I Just Use Chocolate Chips Instead?
NO. And here’s why: If you want a smooth texture and pretty appearance, you’ll need to use chopped chocolate rather than chocolate chips. Many chocolate chips have stabilizers in them that help them hold their shape when baking. That’s the opposite of what we’re going for here, so use actual chocolate. Similarly, don’t use candy bars (like Hershey’s bars). Use baking quality chocolate, like Guittard, Ghirardelli, Lindt, Baker’s, Barry Callebaut, Scharffen Berger, Valrhona, or Trader Joe’s Pound Plus bars. You can buy bars, bricks, or feves (little oval discs). If the appearance isn’t as important (like for a quick sweet snack!), you can use high quality chocolate chips (like guittard), which don’t have the added stabilizers.
How To Make Chocolate Almond Clusters, Step By Step:
- Make Sure Everything Is Perfectly Dry. Chocolate can seize when it comes in contact with water, so before you start, make sure all pans, bowls, utensils, and your hands are completely clean and dry.
- Get Everything Ready To Go First. Tempered chocolate can set up quickly, so you’ll want to work quickly once the chocolate is melted. Set out a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Measure the almonds, set out the flaky salt, and get out 2 spoons to scoop your chocolate almond clusters with.
- Chop The Chocolate. Start by chopping the chocolate into small pieces. Place 2/3 of the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl (I use a glass bowl) and set the remaining 1/3 chopped chocolate aside.
- Gently Melt The Chocolate. Microwave the chocolate on low power in 20-30 second intervals, stirring the chocolate with a spatula in between intervals. It’s important not to scorch the chocolate, so use a low power setting or stir more often to avoid overheating. Remove the chocolate from the microwave when it’s almost completely melted with just a few small lumps of chocolate left. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler on the stove.)
- Stir In The Rest Of The Chocolate. Add the 1/3 of chocolate you set aside and stir 60-90 seconds or so to melt until completely smooth. (If needed, you can microwave 5-10 seconds more at a time until it’s fully melted.)
- Add The Almonds. Pour in the almonds and work quickly to coat them completely with chocolate.
- Scoop Your Clusters. Grab 2 spoons and use one spoon to scoop a small cluster of almonds (I aim for 8-10 almonds or so) and use the other spoon to scrape the cluster off the bottom spoon and onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat until all the almond clusters have been scooped. (I get about 30 or so in a batch this size.)
- Top With Salt & Let Them Set. Sprinkle a few flakes of sea salt onto each cluster to taste and let them cool and set completely.
- Serve & Store. Enjoy immediately, or transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature up to 1 month. (To preserve the glossy sheen, avoid freezing or chilling the chocolate almond clusters. If that doesn’t bother you, feel free to store in the refrigerator or freezer up to 2 months.)
This method of melting chocolate is known as “seeding.” It’s one of the methods to temper chocolate. Tempered chocolate has a glossy sheen when set (rather than a powdery or bloomed appearance) and snaps well when broken (rather than crumbling or bending). For more details about tempering chocolate, including temperature directions and other methods, check out this helpful post!
Mix It Up WIth One Of These Variations!
- Mix Up The Nuts. Swap out the almonds for pistachios, pecans, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, or hazelnuts! The same process works for all kinds of nuts. You can also use a mixed nut blend!
- Top Them With Sprinkles. Dress these up for seasonal occasions by adding a few little sprinkles on top. Nonpareils, jimmies, and quins have the most dramatic impact, but check out our Sprinkles 101 post for even more ideas!
- Drizzle With Chocolate. You can add a pretty flourish to these chocolate almond clusters by drizzling the finished clusters with more melted chocolate or some white chocolate for contrast. It’s so striking!
- Try Them With Smoked Salt. This isn’t for everyone, but using a little smoked flaked sea salt is a really fun way to give these a bold flavor by adding an extra flavor dimension. You get salty + sweet + savory + smoky!
FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The BEst Chocolate Almond Clusters:
AVOID WATER AT ALL COSTS. Plain melting chocolate will seize and turn grainy, hard and unusable when it comes in contact with water. Even a drop or two is enough to ruin all your hard work, so make sure all bowls, utensils, pans, and your hands are perfectly clean and dry before starting.
SMALLER IS BETTER. It’s tempting to do big scoops to make large clusters, but this is definitely a case of your eyes being bigger than your stomach. Smaller clusters are better. Aim for small clusters of about 8-10 almonds each rather than big ones. You’ll thank yourself later!
MISE EN PLACE IS A MUST! Have everything you need ready before you melt the chocolate. (Gathering all your supplies and ingredients like this is called mise en place.) Melted chocolate (especially tempered chocolate) can set up quickly, so you don’t want to be scrambling around to get everything ready. Set out the parchment-lined baking sheet and spoons for dipping, and have the almonds measured and ready to go before you start melting the chocolate.
CAN I USE MILK CHOCOLATE INSTEAD? Yes! Not a fan of dark chocolate or semisweet chocolate? No problem. Just use high-quality milk chocolate instead. Note that milk chocolate will melt faster than dark or semisweet chocolate, so you’ll want to stir and check it more frequently.
🌟 Leave a star review & comment below after you make this chocolate almond clusters recipe–I can’t wait to hear how it goes!Print