Finding a snack that’s equal parts healthy and scrumptious is no easy feat. That’s why this Granola Cluster Trail Mix from Aimée Wimbush-Bourque’s The Simple Bites Kitchen cookbook instantly caught our attention. Packed with seasonal faves like cinnamon and pumpkin purée along with energy-boosting superfoods and just a hint of dark chocolate, you’ll find yourself reaching for this tasty trail mix every time the munchies hit.
Granola Cluster Trail Mix
By Aimée Wimbush-Bourque
My children’s love of granola knows no bounds — so much so that I had to create this lunch box snack as an excuse to let them eat it at lunch as well as breakfast. This addicting trail mix replaces the processed granola bar in the school lunch and works for snacking on the go. The clusters are packed with goodness such as hemp hearts and seeds to give maximum energy. Pumpkin purée acts as a binder and just feels natural when the kids are heading back to school in the fall.
Once you make the granola clusters, feel free to customize your trail mix as you like: dried apricots and white chocolate chips; dried goji berries and dark chocolate. I’ve left out nuts, since most schools won’t allow them, but if this is intended for your desk lunch or the children at home, add a big handful of cashews, almonds or your favourite snacking nut.
2 tbsp pure pumpkin purée or unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
¼ tsp Autumn Spice Blend (recipe below)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tbsp hemp hearts
2 tbsp raw sunflower seeds
1 small egg white
Pinch of sea salt
¼ cup raw pepitas
¼ cup dark chocolate chunks
¼ cup unsweetened dried cherries
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup unsweetened flaked coconut
Autumn Spice Blend (for ½ cup worth)::
⅓ cup ground cinnamon
2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp freshly grated nutmeg (1 small nutmeg seed)
2 tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cloves
For Autumn Spice Blend:
In a small bowl, sift together the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Stir well to combine thoroughly.
Transfer spice blend to a clean, dry jar and cover with an airtight lid. Use spice blend within 2 weeks or store in the freezer and use within 3 months.
For Granola Clusters:
Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, stir together pumpkin purée, maple syrup, olive oil and Autumn Spice Blend. Tumble in rolled oats, hemp hearts and sunflower seeds; toss to coat thoroughly.
In a small bowl, use a fork to beat the egg white with salt until frothy. Pour over the oats and mix very well.
Spread granola on the baking sheet. Use your fingers to clump the granola. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn with a spatula, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes more, until the granola clusters are golden brown on the edges. Cool on the baking sheet without stirring.
Mix cooled granola clusters with pepitas, chocolate chunks, dried cherries, raisins and coconut, if using. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
Excerpted from The Simple Bites Kitchen, copyright © 2017 by Aimée Wimbush-Bourque. Published by Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Photography by Tim and Angela Chin.
Servings: Makes 4 cups
approx. Per Serving