Trail Mix Chocolate Nut Clusters are a tasty treat made by combining nuts, seeds and dried fruit with melted dark chocolate. Top these with a dusting of flaky sea salt for a sweet and salty snack!
An easy-to-make treat for Halloween, the holidays, or any time of the year!
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- Quick and easy: these little chocolate nut clusters can be ready in about 30 minutes or less.
- A healthier snack: Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants.
- Lots of variety: While we love chocolate peanut clusters, this recipe for trail mix chocolate nut clusters uses a variety of nuts and seeds.
- Nutritious: Nuts, while high in calories, are high in fiber and contain phytochemicals that act as antioxidants. Nuts and dried fruit are loaded with vitamins and minerals our bodies need.
- Satisfying! One small dark chocolate nut cluster will satisfy your sweet cravings.
- Easy to customize: Substitute your favorite nuts, seeds, and dried fruits or the ones you have in your pantry.
Source: Healthline.com. Dark Chocolate Buyers Guide
Chocolate-covered nuts are a sought-after treat! This recipe for sweet 'n sea salty chocolate cashews is a popular one with my readers.
Chocolate bark, like this Salted Dark Chocolate Bark with Pumpkin Seeds, Salted Chocolate-Orange Almond Bark or this oh-so-good Cranberry Pistachio Chocolate Bark is also incredibly delicious and it's super easy to make!
But today--it's all about chocolate-covered trail mix! More than simply chocolate peanut clusters, these treats are packed with protein.
🛒 Ingredients for chocolate nut clusters
- Choose nuts and seeds of your choice to total 3 cups. This recipe will make about 4 dozen tiny treats or 3 dozen small bites.
- nuts: use a combination of roasted nuts, like pecans, cashews, walnuts, and hazelnuts. While not technically a nut, salted peanuts are delicious in these nut clusters, too.
- seeds: salted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and a handful of hemp seeds if you'd like. Salted pistachios would be good, too.
- dried fruit: dried cranberries, dried apricots, dried cherries, dried blueberries, raisins, or dates.
- chocolate: dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa. You can substitute dairy-free or sugar-free chocolate chips if you'd like.
- flaky sea salt: A tiny pinch of flaky sea salt adds the perfect finishing touch and heightens the flavor of the sweet fruit and dark chocolate.
- Use roasted nuts and seeds for the best flavor. Spread nuts out on a baking sheet and roast at 350°F. for 10 to 15 minutes, or just until they become fragrant.
- Use a separate baking sheet for seeds, as they will burn quickly if left too long.
- Coarsely chop the nuts and dried fruit.
- Melt the chocolate over, not in, a pan of simmering water. Use a double boiler if you have one, or suspend a glass mixing bowl over a pan of water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water.
- You can also melt chocolate in the microwave. Check and stir it at 30-second intervals. Remove the bowl from the heat or from the microwave when there are still a few lumps of chocolate. They will melt in the heat of the melted chocolate.
- Add the chopped nuts, seeds, and fruit to the bowl of melted chocolate and stir until completely combined and well coated.
- Use a cookie scoop or two spoons to drop small spoonfuls onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Allow the clusters to cool at room temperature until the chocolate has set. If you can't wait, pop them in the fridge to cool.
5. Drop by small spoonfuls onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and allow to cool.
Top Tips to make the best chocolate-covered nut clusters
- Roast the nuts. Roasting the nuts really does make a difference! It takes very little time to roast nuts in the oven, but this simple step makes a top-notch treat.
- Use quality dark chocolate. A high-quality chocolate with at least 70% cocoa also improves the flavor immensely. However, you can also use your favorite chocolate chips, dairy-free or sugar-free. Keep this snack vegan by using vegan chocolate chips.
- Use salted and unsalted. For the best flavor and interest, I like to use a mix of salted and unsalted nuts. For example, in this recipe, I used roasted salted pumpkin seeds and roasted salted peanuts, but unsalted cashews and pecans.
- Use a variety of dried fruit. Using sweet dried fruit like dried cranberries, blueberries or cherries gives that sweet and salty contrast in flavors that is so appealing!
- Sea salt. Don't forget a tiny pinch of sea salt on top before the chocolate sets!
🔁 Possible Variations
Use your favorite dried fruits and nuts. You can use as many or as few as you like.
Add shredded or toasted coconut if you'd like.
You can also make this chocolate nut cluster recipe into chocolate bark. Simply spread the mixture out on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, as thick or as thinly as you like. Let it set, then either slice it into squares or break it into pieces.
🥶 How to store chocolate nut clusters
Store these chocolate treats in a covered container at room temperature for about two weeks. For longer storage, you can freeze them, too. They will last for several months.
Be warned, however, that chocolate does not like temperature changes and it may "bloom" when you remove the nut clusters from the freezer to thaw them. It is perfectly safe to eat. It just doesn't look as appealing.
I like to make these salted dark chocolate treats ahead of holiday times and have them on hand for treats. They also make an ideal late-afternoon snack. One is enough, although it's hard to stop at one!
🗒 More recipes for sweet treats
🌟 Did you make this recipe?
When you make these trail mix chocolate nut clusters, please leave a comment and a rating below. I love hearing how my recipes turned out for you and what substitutions you made! Thanks in advance.
Trail Mix Chocolate Nut Clusters
- ½ cup pecans
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds roasted and salted
- ½ cup almonds, slivered or flaked
- ½ cup cashews roasted
- ¼ cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
- ¼ cup dried apricots or dried blueberries
- ¼ cup raisins or dates
- 2 cups chocolate
- Roast nuts in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the nuts out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant. Watch carefully as they can burn very quickly. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the nuts cool.
- Coarsely chop nuts and dried fruit and transfer them to a large bowl.
- Melt chocolate pieces or chocolate chips over, not in, a pan of simmering water. You can also melt chocolate in the microwave, removing it and giving it a stir every 30 seconds until melted. Chocolate can burn easily. Remove it from the microwave or from the stovetop before it is completely melted. The remaining pieces will melt in the heat of the warm chocolate.
- Add the chopped nuts and dried fruit to the chocolate and stir until completely coated.
- Using a cookie scoop or two spoons, form small clusters on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Let cool at room temperature until firm. Store in the refrigerator.