Years ago, I was given the challenge to create a recipe where each serving was packed with one full serving of whole grain cereal, had zero additives, and wasn’t fortified, yet contained a plethora of vitamins and minerals from healthy whole foods. These dairy-free almond crunch clusters met every demand!
Initially, it was supposed to be a muffin. But have you ever tried to pack 3/4 cup of whole grain cereal in a muffin tin, even without other ingredients added? I’ll need to invest in some Texas-sized muffin tins before I can make that one happen. Nevertheless, I think these easy, crunchy clusters are just as tasty as a muffin. They’re also much easier to make and incredibly portable.
Almond Crunch Clusters made Rich in Dairy-Free Calcium & Magnesium
For a little extra nutrient boost, I sweetened and clustered the whole grain cereal in this recipe with mineral-rich blackstrap molasses and maple syrup. The deepness of the molasses gives this treat a mellow, earthy flavor that is lightly sweet. It’s perfect for a healthy morning carb hit without the sugar rush.
I also augmented the vitamins, protein, and healthy fats in this snack with a combination of almonds and almond butter. A dash of cinnamon, a splash of vanilla, and a pinch of salt put the finishing touches on this whole food breakfast-to-go.
For a full breakfast, the batch below makes 2 hearty servings, each with the following nutrient profile:
17 grams of fat
15 grams of fiber (yes, 58% of the RDI!)
15 grams of sugar
12 grams of protein
175mg calcium (17.5% of RDI)
208mg magnesium (52% of RDI)
808mg potassium (22% of RDI)
14.5mg iron (26.5% of RDI)
As an added bonus, this wholesome crunch is a good source of manganese, vitamin E, vitamin B6, tryptophan, copper, vitamin B2, selenium, phosphorus AND it contains just 150mg of sodium per serving. Take that fortified imposters!
You can alternatively enjoy these almond crunch clusters as 100-calorie snacks. Just scoop the recipe into eight muffin cups for perfect little portions.
Special Diet Notes: Almond Crunch Clusters
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.
For gluten-free almond crunch clusters, substitute your favorite whole grain gluten-free and dairy-free cereal.
- 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup (see Nutrition Note below), to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (I adore cinnamon, and use the higher amount)
- Pinch salt
- 1½ cups whole grain cereal (I use Uncle Sam)
- ¼ cup almond slices
- Preheat your oven to 250ºF and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- In a bowl, stir together the molasses, almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Add the whole grain cereal and almond slices, and stir to evenly coat.
- Spread the mixture on your prepared baking sheet. It will be a bit sticky, but I just use the back of the mixing spoon to flatten and spread it a bit.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Let the crisp cool for 15 minutes on the baking sheet, then break the whole grain cereal into clusters.
- Pack it into baggies for the road, or serve up snacks in muffin cups!