Sunday, December 17, 2017

Krampus Clusters

I see a future where Krampus is to Winter, what Pumpkin Spice is to Autumn.  If Etsy is any indicator in trends, it's already begun.  Krampus seems to invoke essences of evergreens, musk, leather, charcoal, orange and spices both fiery and aromatic.

Just a few of the products out there:

Cocoa Vom Krampus - "Fiery Black Gourmet Hot Chocolate"

Krampus Oil - "... a wickedly good winter blend of evergreens, rich herbs, mystical black tea leaves, aged leather and a trace of warm incense."

Krampus Beard Oil - " smells of Spiced woods with notes of Fir Needle, Balsam, Juniper Berries and Cinnamon Clove with a touch of Vanilla."

Krampus Perfume Oil - "A dark smudge of holiday naughtiness.... well worn leather whips and smouldering black coal."

Krampus Yule Soap - "This charcoal infused soap is scented in a lovely orange clove scent that will wake you up and put you in the mood for some holiday cheer."

Gruss Vom Krampus Bath Bomb - " amazing fragrance that smells like a firey mix of amber, incense, patchouli, cinnamon, and cedar."

With that in mind I wanted to make a chocolatey Krampus treat.  I played with the idea of using some peppery heat, but decided to go a little tamer with cinnamon spice instead.  Altogether I wanted a little citrus, a little cranberry, a little spice and some pecans all wrapped up in dark chocolate.  I found this recipe at which was pretty close. 

The original recipe calls for a sprinkle of salt at the end.  I forgot to do this, but it is a nice touch.  I did sprinkle a few pieces of fruit as a garnish, but I don't think it's worth the effort and wouldn't do it again.

I'll be honest the cinnamon didn't do anything for me, if anything it was a little distracting.  Can I still name it after Krampus if I leave out the cinnamon next time? Krampus Lite maybe? 

Also I thought the texture of the craisens was too soft.  Even though I chopped them up pretty fine, next time I will mince the hell out of them and only use half a much. Also I might do half pecans, half pistachios. The recipe is basically 3 cups of stuff mixed into 12oz. of chocolate, so you can mix and match how ever you like.

Here's the recipe as I made it:

Krampus Clusters

2 cups pecan halves
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 candied orange*, chopped 
12 ounces dark chocolate
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
coarse salt (optional)

Toast the pecans on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper for 10 minutes at 300°.
Let the pecans cool, then very coarsely chop them. 
Mix the candied orange pieces with the cranberries with your fingertips to separate the cranberry pieces.  The sugar from the orange pieces will act as a coating to help keep the cranberry pieces from sticking together.  
Add the pecans and cinnamon and toss together.
In a microwave safe dish that is large enough to hold all the ingredients melt the chocolate.  Microwave at 50% power for 60 seconds and stir. Continue to microwave at 50% power at 30 second intervals, stirring each time until the chocolate is almost melted.  
Continue stirring until completely melted, then add the pecan & fruit and stir until coated.
Drop spoonfuls onto a wax paper lined baking sheet.
Sprinkle with coarse salt if desired and let stand until hard.

Makes about 42 tablespoon sized pieces.  These keep well in an airtight container and freeze nicely as well.  

*The recipe for candied orange can be found at  It makes a lot more than you need for the Krampus Clusters.  That is a good thing, because candied orange is divine.  It's great by itself or dipped in chocolate as the recipe suggests.  You can use it anywhere you would normally add dried fruit. Add it to cookies, breads, trail mix...  I love it with butternut squash, diced with a little butter, salt and pepper.  

The only deviation from the recipe I make is how I cut the orange, which after all these years I just learned is called supreming. My peel slices don't end up all nice and uniform, but I prefer my orange segments without any pith or membrane.  I'm assuming it's a little extra work, although I've never done it the way the recipe says.  The edges of peel that are just pith need to be trimmed off and any remaining orange needs to be sliced off.  I use a serrated knife to supreme the orange and a thin paring knife to clean up the peel.  

I refrigerate the leftover syrup and usually end up cooking up a second batch of orange peels in it. The second time around I keep the lid on the pot during the first half of the cooking time.  I can't tell a difference between the two batches.  By the time I've cooked two batches the syrup is fairly thick and I'll use it as a sweetener.  I like it in plain Greek yogurt with a splash of vanilla and fresh fruit.  


  1. Love that Krampus Yule soap - it is beautiful. I can't wait to candy some orange peels!

    1. It is pretty and the horns make it extra awesome. Enjoy your candied orange peels, they are so good.