It is very rare that I find myself enjoying sweets and simultaneously thinking "this is so healthy! I am being SO good eating this..." Well, this is one of those rare moments that I treasure so much. These little chocolates are good for you. I promise. Of course, they are only good for you if you don't sit down and eat half of them in one session (unlike myself). Everything in moderation they say.... yeah right.
Well, let's go over the ingredients in these-
Dark chocolate: antioxidants
Nuts: healthy fats
Dried Fruit: antioxidants
Bran Sticks: loads of fiber
Do you see what I am saying?
Honestly I think I got a bit too excited and dropped mine too big. I definitely wouldn't go any bigger than a tablespoon otherwise they are hard to eat because they melt in your fingers before you're done eating them. Plus, you eat them right out of the fridge and they are a bit hard to bite into, so go smaller when dropping them. Bite size.
Now if you take a bag of dark chocolate chips and melt them into any combination of the last three ingredients in this recipe, you have the perfect sweet snack. Now by any combination I mean any type of nut/dried fruit in any ratio, just as long as you add in about 2 cups total of mix-ins. Just play it by ear, if the mixture looks dry, don't keep adding things. I think about 2 cups is the perfect ratio of mix-ins to chocolate.
Now let me tell you about these bran sticks. I know they can be off putting, just by the name. Trust me though. I swear by these things. They are low calorie and chocked full of fiber. Plus, when they are covered with chocolate they have no resemblance to bran, they just have a perfect crunch. Even without chocolate coating them, I think they are great. They really are yummy. I eat them by themselves with milk almost everyday. But please. When I say Fiber One... I mean it. Do NOT buy All Bran Bran sticks. You'll be sorry.
So go ahead and play around with some combination of add-ins that you really like. Seriously, you can make any kind of chocolate cluster that you like, that's what is sooooo great about this type of treat! It is completely forgiving and totally adaptable.
Be sure to store these in the fridge though! Or else you will have soft, gooey chocolate globs on your hands. And while messy may be fun sometimes... this probably isn't one of those times. Just sayin'.
Dark Chocolate Health Nut Clusters
12 oz bag Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Chips
3/4 cup chopped nuts (walnut, almonds or pecans)
3/4 cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, or apricots, etc)
1/2 cup Fiber One Bran Sticks
Melt chocolate chips in double boiler or in microwave. Mix together all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Drop about tablespoonfuls on a sheet tray lined with parchment or wax paper. Place in fridge to set. Store in fridge in air tight container between sheets of wax or parchment paper.