Vegan Trail Mix Chocolate Clusters
Those Trail Mix Chocolate Clusters are perfect for those occasions when you crave a little something sweet but still want to keep things on the healthy side… Be careful, though: they are extremely more-ish, so just one cluster might not cut it!
I’ve always had a bit of a sweet tooth… or maybe, a lot of a sweet tooth. Especially in the evening, for some reason. Usually not long after supper, I’ll get a some kind of craving for a little bit of sweetness… Not for a big flat out, sit-yourself-down-with-fork-and-plate dessert, like a big slice of cake or any other such decadence… More like, just a little nibble of something sweet. I’ll usually reach for a few pitted dates and a square or two of dark chocolate, but sometimes, my tummy demands that I provide something a little bit more, erm, elaborate.
That’s when I’ll whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies, or make quick and easy bite-size treats such as these trail mix chocolate clusters. Just one of those usually does the trick and keeps my tummy all smiley and happy. Little does he know that I’m actually feeding him all kinds of good things like nuts and dried fruits, hemp hearts and coconut and whole grain cereal… Nah! The only thing he cares about is the chocolate, I think. Oh, and the fact that these taste absolutely insanely delicious.
A little too much even; cuz trust me, those chocolate clusters are so crazy yummy, it’s really hard to stop at just one… you’ll see!
Toasting your nuts will definitely contribute to elevating the flavor of your chocolate clusters to a whole new level. While it’s not entirely mandatory, I strongly recommend that you take the time to do it. It really doesn’t even take that long, and it’s totally worth the effort, trust me. Just coarsely chop your nuts and throw them in a dry pan set over medium heat, then toast them until they are golden and highly fragrant, about 5 minutes. Be sure to move the nuts around from time to time, to ensure that they do not burn on you. Nuts; they’re such delicate little things…
Then, place the toasted nuts in a large mixing bowl, along with the cereal, raisins, goji berries, coconut flakes and hemp hearts; In a separate bowl that can be used as a double boiler (preferably stainless or pyrex) combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil.
About those chocolate chips, be sure to read the ingredients carefully as most of them contain dairy and other unhealthy ingredients! My personal favorite brands include Enjoy Life and Made Good but of course, there are many other good ones to choose from. Feel free to use your own favorite!
Also, feel free to play with the list of ingredients that go into that “trail mix”. So long as you keep the total overall quantity at around 4 to 4-1/2 cups, you can totally go ahead and create your own special blend. Try granola instead of cereal flakes, cranberries, chopped dates or figs instead of raisins and goji, sesame seeds, walnuts, pecans, peanuts, cashews, pistachios, sunflower seeds instead of almonds and hazelnuts. You get the idea; the possibilities are endless, really!
Now we’re gonna melt those chocolate chips, double-boiler style. To do that, add about an inch of water to a small saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Then, place the bowl containing the chocolate chips and coconut oil on top of the saucepan, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not come in contact with the water.
Stir delicately with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is melted about half-way. At this point, carefully remove the bowl from over the saucepan and continue stirring until the chocolate is completely melted. If you feel it still needs a little bit more heat, place the bowl back over the hot water for a few seconds and stir until completely melted.
While your chocolate is melting, be sure to give your cereal/nut/dried fruits mix a good stir, so all the elements are evenly distributed. This simple little precaution will make your job easier when you go and try to incorporate the melted chocolate to the lot…
As soon as it’s completely melted, pour the chocolate right over the cereal/nut/dried fruit blend
Stir delicately until every morsel is completely coated. You might eventually feel like you don’t have enough chocolate and will never be able to get every single tidbit coated, but keep going; it will happen, I swear!
Now drop the mixture by the tablespoonful onto a large cookie sheet that’s been lined with parchment paper or silicon baking mat. You might have to help shape the clusters a little bit with your fingers, as the chocolate doesn’t yet do a good job at keeping everything glued together…
Or, what you could also do is scoop the mixture into the cups of 2 non-stick mini-muffin pans. No need to grease them or anything, the clusters should come right out once fully set and chilled.
To make your clusters extra pretty, you can garnish with a sprinkle of hemp hearts… or chopped almonds, or chopped dried goji berries… or whatever you find would make a pretty cluster garnish!
Finally, send your chocolate clusters to the refrigerator until they are completely set and chilled, about 30 minutes.
Once set, just peel the chocolate clusters right off the paper or silicon mat or remove them from the muffin cups with the pointy end of a paring knife. Store the finished treats in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a few weeks.
Although I bet you’re gonna have a hard time resisting biting into one right this minute. Go ahead, indulge. I promise not to tell anyone…
Trail Mix Chocolate Clusters
- 2 cups vegan chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 2 cups Nature Path's Heritage Flakes, or your favorite cereal
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup goji berries
- 1/2 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup unsweetened toasted coconut flakes
- 1/4 cup hemp hearts
- Coarsely chop your almonds and hazelnuts and toast them in a dry pan set over medium heat, until they are golden and highly fragrant, about 5 minutes. Be sure to move the nuts around from time to time to ensure they do not burn.
- Place the toasted nuts in a large mixing bowl, along with the cereal, raisins, goji berries, coconut flakes and hemp hearts; mix to combine.
- In a separate bowl that can be used as a double boiler (preferably stainless or pyrex) combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil. Add about an inch of water to a small saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Then, place the bowl containing the chocolate chips and coconut oil on top of the saucepan, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not come in contact with the water. Stir delicately with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is melted about half-way. Carefully remove the bowl from over the saucepan and continue stirring until the chocolate is completely melted. If you feel it still needs a little bit more heat, place the bowl back over the hot water for a few seconds and stir until completely melted.
- Pour the melted chocolate over the cereal mix and stir delicately until the cereal is completely coated.
- Drop the mixture by the tablespoonful (a medium-sized spring-loaded ice cream scoop works wonders for thionto a cookie sheet that's been lined with parchment paper or silicon baking mat, or better yet, into the cups of 2 non-stick mini-muffin pans.
- Garnish with a sprinkle of hemp hearts, if desired.
- Send your clusters to the refrigerator until completely set, about 30 minutes.
- Once set, just peel them off from the paper or silicon mat or remove them from the muffin cups with the pointy end of a paring knife.
- Store the finished clusters in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a few weeks.
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4 Comments on “Vegan Trail Mix Chocolate Clusters”
These look so yummy and easy to make – perfect for packing on the go! We loved this recipe so much we included in our guide to a weekend in the mountains. Check it out! http://www.twofunnygirls.com/blog/2019/07/02/a-weekend-in-the-mountains/
Could the coconut oil be decreased at all? I’d love to try this, but I am a gastric bypass patient and I gotta keep a close eye on fat or risk a tummy ache or worse.
Your high protein recipes are really getting me inspired!!
Absolutely, Megan! The coconut oil is added mainly to keep the clusters softer… you could probably get away with not adding any at all but throwing in a few extra tablespoons of chocolate to compensate.
This looks yummy and a sneaky way to get the kids to eat nuts. Is it possible to omit the coconut flakes? My boys are not into coconut. Can I replace it with something else?
Thanks so much.