Once in a while I have a sweet tooth for something other than chocolate. Cookies, cakes, pies and ice cream don’t always hit the mark for me. Instead, I just want a small treat that will satisfy my desire for sweets but will not make me feel too guilty or bloated.
Looking around my kitchen on one of those days of having a sweet tooth I found a container of granola. I know. Granola as a treat does not sound very exciting when you have a sweet tooth and I wanted more than plain ol’ granola. To jazz up the granola and make it into a really delicious treat I added a few extra ingredients to a basic granola bar recipe and created Sticky Granola Clusters.
Naturally sweetened from the whipped honey I used along with the dried fruit, this easy treat satisfied my sweet tooth and kept me from feeling too guilty or bloated. I liked the nice crunch of the granola, toasted almonds and walnuts plus the chewiness of the dried plums, mango and cranberries. The whipped honey made it all sticky and fun to eat.
Usually, I use my family as taste testers but this time I took my recipe directly to the public and asked my co-workers what they thought of the Sticky Granola Clusters. Sometimes you have to go outside of your own bubble to make sure you are on the right track when cooking. Judging by their comments and the fact that a few folks came back for seconds I know this recipe is a hit. The next time you have a sweet tooth make a batch of Sticky Granola Clusters. Not a lot of fuss and a lot less guilt than most treats.
Sticky Granola Clusters
14 oz granola (I used Aurora Natural Vanilla Crunch)
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup dried chopped plums
½ cup dried chopped mango (optional)
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup whipped honey or regular honey
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup light brown sugar (lightly packed)
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spread coconut and almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes. Check coconut to make sure it does not burn. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees.
Place granola, cooled coconut, almonds and walnuts in a large bowl.
In a small pot heat brown sugar, butter, honey and vanilla in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over granola mixture and stir. Add dried fruit and stir until well mixed.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Pour granola mixture onto baking sheet and gently press to spread out the granola evenly. If necessary, wet your fingers before handling to prevent mixture from sticking to you.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 3 hours to set. You can cool in the refrigerator the last 30 minutes. Break into clusters or cut into squares. Store in an air tight container. Refrigerate if necessary.