From lunchbox snacks to on the go toddler munchies, these copycat coconut clusters are kid approved and safe for nut free school zones!
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February thaws and a new favorite snack
Good gracious these Michiganders of mine aren’t quite sure what to do with this mild winter we are having so far! The first weekend into February and we had such a huge thaw that we could play in the beach sand and hike without snowpants! We’ve been extra active this winter, which is so nice, and it also works up little appetites! Let me tell you about a new favorite of ours!
From a Costco find to a homemade copycat!
Earlier this fall, we picked up these cute new coconut cluster snacks at Costco, and my kids really liked them. I loved the simple ingredients, and that they were packed with fatty coconut and mineral rich seeds. I did not, however, love that they were sweetened with brown rice syrup and sugar. I decided to try a bag anyway, and when I discovered how much the girls liked them, decided I better figure out a better way to make them so they weren’t having brown rice syrup and sugar on a weekly basis. The snack was such a great idea otherwise, so we gave it a shot!
The prepping method
Because in all actuality, the store bought coconut clusters were really just as simple as a bunch of coconut flakes and seeds baked with their mode of sweetening! You’ll start by adding your coconut flakes, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia into a large bowl and then mix with just the right amount of mineral rich pure maple syrup.
The baking method
Then, you have two baking choices! If you like neat little cluster rounds, you can spoon your coconut mixture into small cookie sized shapes. Or, you can spread the entire mixture onto the baking sheet, and break it up after it bakes, leaving uneven little clusters. The choice is yours! Both work great!
I loved the warmth that the pure maple syrup brought to these little coconut clusters. I do think that raw honey might work here, however honey has a tendency to burn a bit, so be super careful as they bake. I have not tried a combo of maple syrup and coconut sugar but I do think that might work. You do need some sort of liquid sweetener though to get the stick that you need for the clusters to come together. I’d love to know what you’ve tried, if you want to comment below! As it is, the fat and fiber in the coconut and seeds balances the sweet, and this is a side or snack, not a full meal, so all in all I don’t tend to worry about it!
Can I swap the seed for nuts?
If you can handle nuts, and want to change things up for more variety, any nuts will work here too. If they are heftier nuts like almonds or walnuts, I would consider a rough chop to make the pieces a little smaller.
Good news! These little guys store right in your pantry for easy peasy lunchbox additions or snacktime! Just put the baked and cooled coconut clusters in an airtight container in the pantry up to 3 months.
Copycat Coconut Clusters :: Nut Free School Zone Safe!
- 3 cups unsweetened coconut flakes/chips not shredded coconut
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/3 cup chia seeds
- ¾ cup pure maple syrup
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, and line 2 sheet pans unbleached parchment paper.
- Mix all of the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, until thoroughly coated in the maple syrup.
- To make clusters, use a spoon to drop a couple tablespoons of the mixture into a cluster onto the sheet pan, lining up the clusters like you would cookies on a cookie sheet. To make one large sheet pan to break up into uneven clusters and smaller chunks, divide the mixture between the 2 sheet pans and spread the mixture out evenly, making sure everything is touching so it sticks together.
- Bake the coconut clusters at 350 degrees for 14 minutes until the coconut is lightly toasted. Do NOT touch the coconut clusters for about 1 hour so that they harden. Leave them on the sheet tray. Once the coconut clusters are completely cooled, they will be hardened and stick together well. If you made a large sheet pan full, you can break apart your clusters once they are cooled. Store your coconut clusters in an airtight container in the pantry up to 3 months.
Have you worked with monk fruit sweetener at all? If so, do you know how I could use that as sweetener here? Thank you 😘
Hi Amy! Yes, we love monk fruit! I think you could swap some of the syrup for some monk fruit or Swerve, but you do need the liquid sugar to stick everything together. I am not sure of one of those liquid monk fruit sweeteners or erythritol sweeteners might work for the syrup? It might be worth a try. Let us know if you do 🙂
Do you think it would work with less maple syrup?
Hi Rebecca! The maple syrup caramelizes making that crunchy coating that sticks everything together. You could use less and just plan on it being more like a granola versus a cluster – it will fall apart a bit more 🙂
Hi!! Which brand of monk fruit do you use? Can’t wait to make these!
Hi Heather – I use PureMonk. I’ve never tried this recipe with the monkfruit so let us know how it goes 🙂
[…] is easier than you think, I have also challenged myself to create some seed only snacks (like these copycat coconut clusters) for her this year to change things up. Buckwheat is a seed packed with minerals, antioxidants, and […]
[…] bought or homemade for this one, dear momma! Do what you can! I will say that the homemade version is very cost […]
Can you use honey? If not is it because of the high heat?
Hi Samantha – I think the honey would work but watch for burning. Honey tends to brown a bit more!
These are a hit! Thank you!
I’m so glad they were enjoyed!
Hello Renee! Will make that recipe tomorrow. Have you tried swapping coconut flakes to something else? I only have shredded coconut on hand.
Thank you for sharing your recipe!
Hi Yulia! I haven’t tried shredded coconut – you’ll want to watch the cook time on them but I think that would work ok!
I’m prepping this week, too!! I’m over the moon that these store for 3 months!!!!!! 😍😍
Hi Amy! Yes they are so convenient!
I can’t wait to try these out!
[…] fell to the bottom of the pan. Then I remembered that the secret to the crunchy coating on my Coconut Cluster recipe was maple syrup, so I tried that…success! It’s really just a couple of tablespoons for […]