“Reckon Fred’d take a bit of Cockroach Cluster if I told him they were peanuts?”
-Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling
If Ron thinks Fred might confuse a cockroach cluster for a peanut, I can only assume they don’t get the big honking cockroaches we get here in Australia…
Now, to be honest, I can only assume cockroach cluster is inspired by something like peanut clusters (which might be why Fred would confuse it in the first place). In which case, you could just melt milk chocolate, then stir in roasted peanuts, before dropping tablespoonfuls onto a baking paper lined tray. But I wanted to make something, I dunno, cockroachy.
I’ve always had this deep fear that I’d unknowingly reach into a bag of pitted dates and not be able to tell the difference between a date and a cockroach. So I’m turning this fear into a Honeydukes inspiration. Fortunately, this flavour combo is nothing to hesitate over. It may look like cockroach, but it certainly doesn’t taste like a disgusting critter.
As for them being a cluster, my thought is that they’re sold in a jar together (clustered together), rather than attached in a cluster.
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 115g butter
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup thickened cream
- ½ cup glucose syrup
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- ~60 pitted dates
- First, take the time to open up each pitted date and split in half, and set aside on a baking tray.
- In a saucepan, stir together over medium heat the butter, evaporated milk, brown and white sugar, thickened cream and glucose syrup, until the butter has melted.
- Place in a candy thermometer and let cook until the temperature reaches 250F (note: this usually takes ~30 minutes).
- While cooking, place the walnuts into a plastic sandwich bag and roughly crush.
- Once the caramel reaches 250, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, then walnut pieces.
- Let cool for a few minutes, then pop on candy making gloves.
- Take a date half in one hand and grab some of the walnut caramel mixture in the other gloved hand, and press into the date half. Mould, then place back on the baking tray and repeat with the other dates.
- Let cool, then serve.
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