This Autumn Snack Clusters Recipe is super easy, but it still went through many batches of testing to get the flavors just right. Not that we minded. All 6 batches that I made in one day, were polished off just a few days after!
Healthy Autumn Snack Clusters made with Whole Grain Cereal
Since the school year started (early August in our state!), I’ve been working diligently in the kitchen to come up with recipes that will get my niece to eat breakfast. In the past she shunned food until noon. But we are slowly shifting her into a morning person, thanks in part to ideas like these cereal clusters.
Breakfast has to be sweet and portable to pass her test. Previously, this meant Pop Tarts. Unfortunately (or should I say fortunately?), I require her to have more protein and less sugar in the a.m. To compromise, I’ve turned to naturally-sweetened home-baked goodies, spiked with nuts, and made only with whole grains.
These autumn-inspired cereal clusters are indeed sweet, but not overly so. They are spiked with a double-dose of almonds (my niece’s current favorite nut, but pecans or hazelnuts are a great substitution), flaxseeds and a healthy, whole grain gluten-free cereal. We like maple syrup for sweetening in this recipe, but since it can be pricey, I’ve offered some less expensive alternatives that will still result in some delicious cereal clusters.
Special Diet Notes: Healthy Autumn Snack Clusters
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.
- 4 cups whole grain cereal
- 1-1/3 cups almond slices
- ¾ cup maple syrup (see note below for options)
- ¼ cup unsalted almond butter
- 2 tablespoons flaxseeds, finely ground
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped dried apples, or a combo of both
- Preheat your oven to 250ºF and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, stir together the cereal and almond slices.
- In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, almond butter, ground flaxseed, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.
- Pour the maple mixture over the cereal and almonds, and stir to evenly coat.
- Spread the mixture on your prepared baking sheet, flattening it out, but with the ingredients still touching.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes on the baking sheet.
- Break into clusters and toss with the dried fruit.
For a little festive spice, stir ¼ cup minced crystalized ginger into the maple mixture just before adding it to the cereal. Stir well to break up and evenly distribute the little pieces.
If maple syrup isn’t within your budget, feel free to substitute your favorite liquid sweetener, such as honey (not vegan), brown rice syrup, agave nectar or date syrup. The flavor will vary, but it will still be tasty.