These homemade vegan chocolate clusters will satisfy your chocolate cravings in less than 30 minutes. And the simple ingredients make them healthier than most store-bought candies.
Why bother making vegan chocolate? Well, when you make it yourself, you know exactly what’s in it. Most store-bought chocolate is made with cane sugar. With this recipe, you can choose a healthier option.
Here’s what you need to make these tasty treats:
- 18 mini cupcake liners (paper or silicone) - The liners should be about 1.25-inches wide on the bottom, 1.75-inches wide on top, and 1-inch tall. I like to use silicone liners because they hold their shape better and create less waste.
- 2 cup glass pyrex measuring cup or bowl - I use a microwave-safe glass measuring cup to measure, melt, mix, and pour easily with the same dish.
- Whisk - An 8-inch balloon whisk will do the trick. You can also use a fork or spoon, but a whisk works better.
- Baking sheet or tray - Or anything flat you can place 18 mini cupcake liners on to chill in the fridge. I use my 12-inch pizza pan.
About the Ingredients
All of these ingredients are easy to keep on hand so you can make these homemade vegan chocolate clusters any time.
- Nuts - Use your favorite raw, unsalted nuts. I like cashews. You can also leave out the nuts, but then they aren’t really chocolate “clusters.”
- Cocoa butter wafers - You might have trouble finding these in a grocery store. I order a one-pound bag and keep it in the freezer or a cool, dry place.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder - I like to use Hershey’s® Special Dark, but you can use whatever brand you prefer.
- Maple syrup (or other natural sweetener) - According to NutritionFacts.org, natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup are only slightly more nutritious than cane sugar, but date syrup or molasses are a lot healthier! Each option adds a slightly different level of sweetness and flavor, so experiment to see what you like best.
- Pure vanilla extract - I go with what I can easily get at the grocery store. But some people prefer alcohol-free vanilla extract.
- Spices - The recipe below includes ground ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Ceylon cinnamon has more health benefits compared to cassia cinnamon. You can also explore other spice combinations, like cumin and chili powder!
- Pink Himalayan sea salt - Some people argue that the minerals in pink Himalayan sea salt make it a healthier option than other kinds of salt. I don’t know if that’s true, but other types tend to make me feel bloated and get heart palpitations.
The recipe only takes five quick steps.
Place three nuts in each cupcake liner.
Melt the cocoa butter wafers in the microwave at 40% power for approximately 5 minutes or until most of the wafers are melted—avoid boiling them. Use a potholder to carefully remove the hot cocoa butter from the microwave and stir it with a wire whisk until the remaining bits of wafers are completely melted.
Add the liquid ingredients and whisk to blend.
Add the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
Pour the melted chocolate over the nuts in the mini cupcake liners—just enough to mostly cover the nuts. And place the tray in the refrigerator to chill until the candies are set.
Milk Chocolate Option
If you prefer milk chocolate, you can replace some of the cocoa powder with powdered milk, like oat milk powder. Try ¼ cup cocoa powder and ¼ milk powder in place of the ½ cup of cocoa powder in the recipe. Then next time, use a little more milk powder and slightly less cocoa powder if it’s still dark for you. Or, use a little less milk powder and slightly more cocoa if it isn’t dark enough.
How to Store
This homemade vegan chocolate recipe doesn’t have any additives or coatings to keep it from melting quickly. I recommend keeping the candies in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. And be prepared to lick chocolate off your fingers when you eat them!
Homemade Vegan Chocolate Clusters
- ¾ cup raw cashews
- 1 cup cocoa butter wafers
- 3 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp. fine sea salt
- ⅛ tsp. ground cloves
- Arrange 18 mini cupcake liners on a small baking sheet. (I use my 12” pizza pan.)
- Add about 3 cashews to each liner.
- Place cocoa butter wafers in a microwave safe bowl and microwave at 40% power for approximately 5 minutes or until wafers are almost completely melted. (I use a 2 cup glass Pyrex measuring cup - so I can measure, melt, mix and pour with the same dish.) Be sure to melt wafers on low power - avoid boiling.
- Remove cocoa butter from microwave and stir with wire whisk until remaining bits of wafers are completely melted. (Be careful, bowl or measuring cup handle may be hot.)
- Add maple syrup and vanilla extract to melted cocoa butter and stir to mix.
- Add cocoa powder, ginger, cinnamon, sea salt and ground cloves and whisk until smooth.
- Carefully pour chocolate over cashews in cupcake liners - adding just enough to mostly cover the nuts.
- Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator or freezer for 15 minutes or until chocolate to set.
- Remove cupcake liners and enjoy these homemade vegan chocolate clusters frozen, refrigerated or at room temperature. Store left overs in a sealed plastic baggie in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to one month.