So last week, Ben went to Costco and brought home a bag of Kirkland brand Cashew Clusters, which I have appropriately renamed ‘crack clusters.’ Mind you, I don’t have a big sweet tooth, but for whatever reason, those crack clusters got me and I could not stop eating them! After quickly scanning the ingredient list, I realized that they were stupidly easy to make at home, and that I could actually make them a little healthier by eliminating some of the unnecessary additives. In honor of Valentines Day, I added in some homemade cacao chips, which are another insanely easy thing to make that I will post on below, but you can certainly make these without and they will be just as good!
If you never want to buy chocolate chips again, I have some good news for you! You can make raw, gluten free and refined sugar free chocolate with only 3 ingredients! All you need is:
- 3 Tbsp. virgin, unrefined coconut oil; melted
- 1/3 cup cacao powder
- 3 Tbsp. coconut nectar or honey
- *Optional* 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Melt the coconut oil over low heat, and remove from heat as soon as it is melted. It will not turn out correctly if you don’t! Once oil is removed from heat, sift in the cacao powder, whisking until completely combined. Add in your coconut nectar or honey, and whisk until thoroughly mix and smooth in consistency. To get the chocolate to harden, pour it on a parchment lined baking sheet, spreading out with a plastic spatula to make a single, even layer. Place baking sheet in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. When hardened, remove the chocolate from the freezer and transfer it to a cutting board. Cut chocolate up into small chunks to make ‘chips’ and store chocolate chips in a Ziplock in the fridge.
That’s it! Healthier chocolate chips in 15 minutes.
On to making the nut clusters. Again, couldn’t be easier to make. Grab yourself a large mixing bowl and dump in 1/2 a cup of each of the following:
- raw sunflower seeds
- raw almonds
- raw cashew halves
- raw pumpkin seeds
If using the cacao chips, add in 1/4 cup of prepared chips, along with 1/2 a tsp. of finely ground sea salt or pink Himalayan rock salt. Stir to mix. In a separate small dish, combine 2 Tbsp. organic brown rice syrup and 2 Tbsp. honey. You can find organic brown rice syrup in your health food store near the honey, agave and maple syrup. Mix the two together until they soften up slightly, then pour on top of your nut mixture. With a mixing spoon, stir to evenly coat the nuts in the syrup mixture. When finished, transfer your mixture to a parchment lined baking dish (I used an 8 x 8 glass Pyrex dish), and pat down mixture with a plastic spatula to make a single, even layer.
Preheat your oven to 400F and bake for 16-20 minutes, or until nuts are golden brown. Watch carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn. When finished, remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before transferring your parchment paper to a wire rack to cool. This should easily lift out of your baking dish.
Let cool for several hours, preferably overnight to harden completely, and when finished, cut your bar into small clusters and enjoy! Store remaining clusters in a Ziplock on your counter top.
- 1 recipe for cacao chips if using (recipe above); ¼ cup needed for recipe
- ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
- ½ cup raw almonds
- ½ cup raw cashew halves
- ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 2 Tbsp. organic honey
- 2 Tbsp. organic brown rice syrup
- ½ a tsp. of finely ground sea salt or pink Himalayan rock salt
- Parchment paper
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine nuts, cacao chips and sea salt. Stir to thoroughly mix.
- In a small dish, combine brown rice syrup and honey, mixing until slightly softened.
- Pour syrup mixture over nut mixture and stir to thoroughly coat.
- Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with parchment paper (important for removing), and pour in your nut mixture. With a spoon or plastic spatula, pat down mixture to form a single, even layer.
- Place baking dish in oven on the middle rack and bake for 16-20 minutes, or until nuts are golden brown. Watch carefully so mixture doesn’t burn.
- When finished, remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before transferring your parchment paper to a wire rack to cool. This should easily lift out of your baking dish.
- Let cool for several hours, preferably overnight to harden completely, and when finished, cut your bar into small clusters and enjoy! Store finished clusters in a Ziplock on your counter top.