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…
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.
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
Nut/Seed/Dried Fruit Mix (any combination of the following):
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- Hemp Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
- Dried Blueberries
- Dried Cranberries
- 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.