'Fresh on the Menu' cooking demonstrations at the S.C. State Fair

Chef Marianne Copelan says the chocolaty spicy nut flavor is an easy family favorite, simple enough to whip up in a jiffy.

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Peanuts are becoming an increasingly important crop in South Carolina.

The state is now ranked fifth nationwide in peanut production, according to the S.C. Department of Agriculture. Ten years ago, S.C. farmers planted ten thousand acres of peanuts, compared to 105 thousand acres this year, said Kelly Coakley, public information director for the S.C. Dept. of Agriculture.

The S.C. Peanut Board shed light on the peanut's growing role in the state with daily cooking demonstrations at the 2012 South Carolina State Fair.

Chef Marianne Copelan showed fairgoers how to make a sweet treat she calls the "Atomic Peanut Cluster" during her "Fresh on the Menu" cooking demonstration. She says the chocolaty spicy nut flavor is an easy family favorite that is simple enough to whip up in a jiffy.

"Atomic Peanut Clusters"

Almond Bark ChocolateSpicy Virginia Gourmet Peanuts
To make:
Melt the chocolate in a chocolate melter or double boiler. Arrange small paper candy cups on a cookie sheet. Spoon one tablespoon chocolate into the bottom of the paper cups. Spoon one tablespoon peanuts on the top of the chocolate. Top with one tablespoon melted chocolate. Leaving small parts of the peanuts exposed. Cool completely before serving -- until chocolate is set. Store in an airtight container. For more peanut recipes visit: