Back Country Clusters



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I’m not a chocolatey person. I never have been. I would always take the vanilla ice cream or yellow cake or the fruity desserts over anything with chocolate. Maybe that was weird, but it’s just what I did. Actually, I say I’m not (currently) a chocolatey person, but I think I might be converting. I’ve noticed I tend to choose that over most other treats now. Oh my gosh, does that mean I’m getting old? Even worse, I really, like really, love dark chocolate. Uh oh…

Back Country Clusters | Our Paleo Life

I suppose I better embrace it. The gray hairs have been around for over a decade (darn genetics, but I still love you, mom), and I’m starting to get laugh lines and I worry about the way the skin on my hands look, but at least I love chocolate.

Speaking of getting old and chocolate, I found something awesome on Pinterest a few weeks ago. I was looking for a dry shampoo option for post-gym and in-between hair washing, but didn’t like most of the DIY options because I have dark hair (with stupid white roots) and the last thing I needed was some white powder to make me look like I had even more white hair. Then I came across one that added cocoa powder and I was like “heck yes!”. Rob couldn’t believe I was putting chocolate in my hair but dirty hair don’t care.

I dabbed that stuff on and not only did it make my hair not look so after-the-gym grody, but it actually disguised my gray roots just a bit. Double score. So yeah, say what you want, but cocoa is not only made for eating.

Back Country Clusters | Our Paleo Life

And I guess I should give credit where credit is due. I 100% did not come up with this recipe. Rob is always looking for new treat and snack ideas, and this one is yet again another brain child of his. Luckily for him, he’s got a super awesome wife that knows her way around the kitchen and can make his dreams a reality. We’re talking about food here, people.

These are really simple to make, and if you buy a nut-seed-fruit mix (like in the bulk section at Whole Foods), then half the work is already done for you.

Back Country Clusters | Our Paleo Life
Back Country Clusters | Our Paleo Life

Back Country Clusters

Trail mix is so last year. Chocolate dipped clusters are what's in right now. Or do you not follow food style trends? Yeah, me neither, but these things are so good and so much more fun to eat than trail mix, so why not make them?
Course Snack
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 186kcal
Author Kendra Benson


  • 3 cups Nut/Seed/Dried Fruit Mix* make your own or buy a pre-made mix -- make sure it's no-salt and no-sugar added though
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt if your nut/seed/fruit mix has salt, reduce this to about 1/4 tsp
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
  • 1 tsp Vegan Shortening

Nut/Seed/Dried Fruit Mix (any combination of the following):

  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Dried Blueberries
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Raisins
  • Dried Strawberries
  • Anything else you can dream up!


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except chocolate chips. Stir to combine everything evenly.
  • Pour the nut mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and spread it out so it's about 1/2" thick. Try to keep it away from the edges, as the honey will spread.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  • Remove and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Once it's completely cool and hardened, break the nuts into clusters.
  • Melt the chocolate chips and shortening in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring until smooth.
  • Dip the bottom of each cluster in the melted chocolate, pressing down so it comes up the sides just a little bit.
  • Set chocolate-dipped cluster on a piece of parchment. Once all clusters are dipped, put them in the fridge for a few minutes to harden the chocolate. Store in an airtight container.


I am baking at a high elevation (6,000ft above sea level). Boiling and candy baking times are shorter up here. In order to have your honey harden enough to make these clusters work at lower elevations/sea level, you may need to add a couple minutes to your bake time. Just keep an eagle eye on them to be sure they don't burn towards the end.


Calories: 186kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 97mg | Potassium: 7mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1.1mg



[60s Quiz] Which Diet is Right for you - Paleo vs Keto?

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Last Updated 01/29/2020

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    14 Responses to “Back Country Clusters”

    1. I just tried making these clusters this afternoon and they totally didn’t turn out. Boo!

      The entire batch stuck to the parchment paper and I couldn’t break any of it off cleanly. Any suggestions? I really want to try again because the nuts tasted so yummy after baking.

      • Oh bummer! Did you let them cool all the way down? I sometimes pop them in the fridge if I’m too impatient. It’s also possible they didn’t bake long enough, therefore the honey didn’t get to a hot enough temp to get to the right candy stage. Does your oven temp tend to run a little cool? Maybe try a slightly longer baking time on your next attempt?

    2. I had the same problem with the nuts not sticking together but doing a pretty good job of sticking to the parchment. I put them in the freezer so i could get them off the parchment, will freeze over night to see if they will stick together to dip them in chocholate.

      • It’s possible they needed to bake a bit longer. The honey may not have reached the right temp to harden.

    3. I made these tonight and they turned out wonderful! After reading the other comments, I decided to grease my parchment paper to prevent sticking. I also cooked them for a few extra minutes. I let them cool on the counter for a few hours. Also, instead of dipping them in the chocolate, I just left it in one big piece and drizzled the melted chocolate all over the top and then cooled it in the fridge. Then I cut it into squares. Less messy and much quicker! They are fabulous!

      • I like the idea of drizzling chocolate on the bars, thanks for sharing. And yeah, I recently realized that since I’m baking at 5,000 ft elevation, it may be the reason that mine take less time to bake than those at lower altitudes. Glad they worked for you.

    4. Great treat, kid’s love em.

    5. I gave this a 5 star, but I must admit, I have not made these yet.
      I have a question ?
      What is Vegan Shortening?
      I can only think of Shortening, like Crisco, Spry, when I grew up, but have Not eaten that in years,
      and do they still make it?!!!
      That said, these look Yummy , and healthy..


      Read more at:

    6. I made these and the family went wild! I even added cardamom to a batch. Great recipe! Thanks.

    7. The honey doesn’t cause the paper to stick to the nut mixture?

    8. My honey burnt a little in the pan.

    9. great treat, or dessert! made my house smell so YUMMY!

    10. Delicious! But do you have a trip to making the chocolate harden after you dip them? If they sit in air temperature my chocolate does not hold together? I used 1/2 baking chocolate and 1/2 chocolate chips?
      Thanks for the recipe!

    11. Add a tiny bit of coconut oil to the chocolate chips. Tastes amazing!


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