Alisa Fleming ~ Ever since I dreamed up this Naturally-Fortified Molasses Almond Crunch Recipe (or Super-Grain Clusters – I had so much trouble deciding on a name!), I’ve been addicted to trialing new flavors with this vegan snack cluster concept. I just love their portability, audible crunch, and the way that I can easily pack some wholesome ingredients in there. Plus, they are MIGHTY tasty.
The recipe variation below was inspired by the recipe for Mesquite Candied Pecans in the cookbook, Practically Raw. The author, Amber Shea Crawley, had the genius idea to pair maple syrup with mesquite, and jazz it up with a squeeze of lemon. The end result is an amazing flavor combination! I gifted a bag of these Sweet Maple Mesquite Crunchy Vegan Snack Clusters to my in-laws, and heard nothing but raves. My mother-in-law proclaimed it highly addictive, and grandma seemed to agree – we couldn’t keep her away from it!
I realize Mesquite Flour may be a new flavor to many people, but it is one worth seeking out, particularly for dairy-free (and / or gluten-free) consumers. It has a unique flavor that seems almost malted to my taste buds, which I adore since most “malted” foods are off limits to those who are dairy-free or gluten-free. If you can’t find mesquite flour, then you could sub cocoa powder or carob powder in an equivalent amount – it will still be a very tasty vegan snack! I haven’t trialed these options, because I’m too in love with the mesquite version, but they should also add a hint of deep flavor for delicious results.
If you do venture a package of Mesquite, you can use it in the recipe below (naturally) and in my Super Natural Mesquite Chocolate Chips Cookies Recipe – yeah, they’re that good.
- 2 Cups Whole Grain Cereal (I use Uncle Sam Original w/ Flax)
- ½ Cup Almond Slices
- 6 Tablespoons (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) Maple Syrup
- 1 Tablespoon Almond Butter
- 4 Teaspoons Mesquite Flour (can sub cocoa powder or carob powder in a pinch for a different flavor vibe)
- 1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
- ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ¼ Teaspoon Salt
- ¼ Teaspoon Cinnamon
- Preheat your oven to 250ºF and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- Place the cereal and almond slices in a large bowl and stir gently, just to combine.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the maple syrup, almond butter, mesquite flour, lemon juice, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon until smooth.
- Pour the maple mixture over the cereal mix, and gently stir to coat as thoroughly as possible.
- Spread the cereal mixture out on your prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the clusters appear lightly toasted, but not burnt.
- Allow the mixture to cool for at least 15 minutes. It will firm up and become crispy the longer it cools.
- You can break it into smaller pieces, if desired.