Two things about this recipe:
1. Carob is a caffeine-free alternative to cacao (chocolate flavor). It is a tropical pod that’s native to the Mediterranean and has it’s own unique flavor that’s a little sweeter than cacao. It’s nice to use if you are looking to switch things up – after all, carob does offer its own unique and different nutrient profile – or if you would like to avoid the caffeine in chocolate. Toasted Carob powder is nice and affordable, and you can find it here. You can also find a raw version here.
2. I added Siberian Ginseng (also called Eleuthero) Powder to my clusters* so I guess they could be called ‘Coconut Carob Ginseng Clusters’, but I didn’t want you to get winded describing your delicious snack to your friends ;). I bought the ginseng powder from the bulk section at our local health food store, but you can also find a good one here. Siberian ginseng, which is not the same as Panax or American Ginseng, may help boost the immune system thanks to its active ingredients called eleutherosides. Traditionally, it’s also been used as an adaptogen, which you can read more about here. Traditional Chinese medicine refers to adaptogenic herbs as superior herbs because they work with your body in a powerful way to help reduce stress and promote wellbeing. By helping your body better cope with changes in your environment, it may also boost quality of life, energy and vitality. Makes for the perfect pick-me-up snack, I’d say!
Here is an article from Whole Health Chicago that talks more about Siberian Ginseng.
*I always try to include a variety of herbs and superfoods into my diet when I can in order to give myself an array of diverse nutrients that may help my body function more optimally. I’m all for learning about the Earth’s natural resources to help us heal and thrive, and I am a huge advocate for using them. Even though an abundance of scientific studies are sometimes lacking in this area, I don’t doubt at all that many of the herbs and superfoods that we don’t necessarily have definitive, ample, conclusive evidence on offer many important benefits to us humans. If something is available to me, and I see that it may be good for me in one way or the other, I figure, why not try it?! Especially when many have little to no side effects at all. I’ve seen firsthand the healing power of natural remedies and would encourage anyone and everyone to look into them if possible to help them on their health journey. I did a ghost-writing gig where I went into a lot more detail about topics relating to herbs, scientific research and the disconnect therein, and it’s something that fires me up a little! I will for sure do a post that dives a little deeper into all of that because I think it’s an important perspective to have if you are interested in herbal remedies and holistic health.
Okay, now for the goodies. Snack, snack, snack away.
- ⅓ cup shredded coconut (*see note)
- 2 tbsp. carob powder
- ¼ cup almonds
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract or ½ tsp. vanilla bean powder
- 1-2 tbsp. raw honey (depending on desired sweetness)
- ¼ cup soaked raisins
- ½ tsp. Siberian ginseng powder (optional)
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon
- crack/pinch of sea salt
- Place raisins in a small dish with water first before preparing the other ingredients. Let them sit for 10 minutes or so.
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until well combined. You can process the almonds and raisins first if you would like the clusters to be less chunky and stick together really well.
- Form processed mix into little clusters and place in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up.
- *Note: I used coconut chips, and they didn't stay together very good so I would recommend using shredded coconut or processing the coconut before adding the other ingredients.
Go on, now, take a bite 😉