July 6, 2015
cluster de macadamia
(macadamia-nut cluster)
According to the Hawaiian Host website, Ellen Dye Candies, its predecessor, was the first company to dip macadamia nuts into chocolate. The year was 1927. My parents travelled to Hawaii when I was in high school. They returned with a box of chocolate‑covered macadamia nuts for my father’s officemates. The year was 1962. (They brought me a pair of uli‑ulis.) Starting with my honeymoon—the year was 1984—every time we visited my in‑laws, my mother‑in‑law would try to send us home with a box of chocolate‑covered macadamia nuts. That ended when she moved into a nursing home around 2008. During this time, people couldn’t accept the fact that I didn’t like chocolate‑covered macadamia nuts.
It’s not the nuts that I don’t like. It’s the cheap chocolate. I love chocolate, but I’m very particular about the chocolate I eat. The stuff produced by Hawaiian Host just doesn’t make the cut. I’ll have my macadamia nuts plain, if you don’t mind.
A company that does use great chocolate in their candies is See’s. Their dark chocolate is fantastic. The chocolate used at the See’s San Bruno plant, the one closest to my home, is made by Guittard, which is just down the road from See’s. Guittard is my favorite chocolate producer for candies and baking.
See’s makes walnut, almond, and peanut clusters, but no macadamia‑nut clusters. So I saw an opportunity. After making the macadamia‑nut clusters, I thought they looked a bit plain so I sprinkled a pinch of crystalized basil over the still molten chocolate. My job was done.
60 g (218 oz)
chocolate, 72% cocoa mass
60 g (218 oz)
dry‑roasted, unsalted, macadamia nuts, cut into quarters or halves
12 pinches
basil crystals [optional]
1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over simmering water. When fully melted, remove from the heat, and mix in the nuts.
2. Using a teaspoon, make individual mounds of the chocolate‑nut mixture on a baking sheet covered with a silicone liner.
3. If using the basil crystals, sprinkle a pinch over the center of each candy before the chocolate begins to harden.
4. Set aside to cool and harden. Store the candies in a sealed container in your refrigerator.
5. Yield: 10 candies.

© 2015 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.