cinnamon coconut nut clusters

cinnamon coconut nut clusters
cinnamon coconut nut clusters

Nuts are eaten in many different shapes and forms--and daily--under this roof.  Sometimes when I just need a little something to tide me over until dinner the first thing I grab is a handful of nuts.  And our own roasted, seasoned nuts are my top pick.  Once you get the hang of roasting nuts or sauteing nuts you can begin to imagine wonderful combinations of spices, herbs, and additions to create nut mixes.  Nuts roasting in the oven is one of my favorite smells to fill our kitchen.

These Cinnamon Coconut Nut Clusters are definitely one of our family's favorite recipes.  The combination of fragrant roasted nuts and cinnamon, coconut sugar, and coconut oil make these irresistible, even without the decadent chocolate drizzle.  I like watching my girls do what I used to do when I was little; pick out the most chocolatey clusters from the bowl first.  Or maybe they learned that from watching me...

cinnamon coconut nut clusters
cinnamon coconut nut clusters

This recipe makes an incredible amount of nut clusters.  If you don't have a family of seven enormous eaters and the sight of "12 cups of nuts" in the recipe overwhelms you, please half the recipe.  You'll still come out well in the end with 6 cups of nut clusters.  (The full recipe is great for yourself and giving away though.)

cinnamon coconut nut clusters

Ingredients:

roasted nuts:

12 cup of nuts (I like to use a combination of almonds, pecans, and cashews)

1/2 TBSP pure vanilla extract

4 egg whites

1 TBSP cinnamon

5 TBSP coconut sugar (or a sweetener substitute)

1 TBSP coconut oil, melted

2 tsp salt

chocolate drizzle (optional):

1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (or sugarfree chips)

2-4 TBSP heavy cream or milk (depending on the consistency you want to drizzle the chocolate)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp sea salt

Additional salt for dusting

cinnamon coconut nut clusters
cinnamon coconut nut clusters

Preheat the oven for 300 degrees.

Make the nut coating first by pouring all of the ingredients for the "roasted nuts" into a large bowl except the nuts.  Whisk the ingredients together well.  Now pour the nuts into the bowl and coat them well with a large spoon.  

Pour the coated nuts onto 2 silicone or parchment paper-lined baking sheets.  Spread the nuts to create a single layer but make sure all of the nuts are snuggly spread--they should be closely touching their surrounding nut friends.  (This will assist in them becoming "clusters" instead of just roasted nuts.)

Roast the nuts for 1 hour.  Don't stir them or it will break up the clusters.

cinnamon coconut nut clusters
cinnamon coconut nut clusters

During the last 10 minutes of roasting the nuts prep your chocolate drizzle.

Making the chocolate drizzle:

Pour the chocolate chips and cream in a microwave-safe bowl and pop it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, periodically opening the door to stir the mixture.  The chocolate should be melted or mostly melted within that time and stirring it will help melt the chocolate chips.

Once you have warm, melted chocolate, add the rest of the chocolate drizzle ingredients to the bowl and stir.  Let the chocolate drizzle cool for a few minutes.

Fill a sandwich size ziploc bag with the warm chocolate drizzle.  Seal it closed.  Snip off one of the bag's corners as small as possible.  Now you're ready to drizzle!

Once your roasted nuts are ready to come out of the oven, let them cool for a few minutes.  Using your chocolate drizzle-filled bag, drizzle the chocolate back and forth over the nuts.  As soon as you finish drizzling both pans dust the wet chocolate drizzle with a little bit of additional salt.

cinnamon coconut nut clusters
cinnamon coconut nut clusters

Let the chocolate harden by putting the pans in the refrigerator.  The pans can be pulled out of the refrigerator after 15-30 minutes or so.

Gently break the roasted nuts into nice sized "clusters".

Store in airtight containers if you're not bagging them up to give away.

cinnamon coconut nut clusters
cinnamon coconut nut clusters

These Cinnamon Coconut Nut Clusters make awesome mini gifts.  I like to fill extra large muffin liners and slip those into cellophane bags with a ribbon.  And thankfully adults and kids alike dig these.

Other ideas for these nut clusters:

  • Fill individual snack baggies or small lidded containers with a 1/2 cup of these clusters to keep in the car, in your handbag, in your desk, or in the pantry for healthy snacking.
  • Omit the chocolate drizzle for an excellent low carb afternoon snack.
  • Enjoy a few clusters for a super high-protein post workout snack.
  • Scoop a handful of clusters (without the chocolate drizzle) into a food processor and process for a few seconds until you're reached a chopped nut consistency. Pour the mixture into a bowl, add milk/almond milk/cream and dive in for a high-protein, filling nut granola breakfast.
cinnamon coconut nut clusters
cinnamon coconut nut clusters

{They sure package up pretty.  Find an excuse to give them away.  Who doesn't love nuts?  Really??}

cinnamon coconut nut clusters
cinnamon coconut nut clusters