No-bake, healthy snack still tastes like a treat

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 23, 2008

By Jim Romanoff
For The Associated Press
Making your own snacks is one of the best ways to control what and how much children snack on.
Cocoa-orange cereal and nut clusters are irresistibly sweet and salty, plus they are no-bake and take only 15 minutes to prepare. These treats combine whole-grain cereal, nuts and fruit juice with a pleasant sweetness.
The recipe makes 24 bite-size servings that are easily portioned. They can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.Cocoa-Orange Cereal and Nut Clusters
Start to finish: 15 minutes
Makes 24 clusters
3 1/4 C. crunchy whole-grain corn cereal (such as Puffins)
1/2 C. powdered sugar, plus additional for dusting
1/2 C. chopped pecans
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 1/2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
Place the cereal in a large zip-close plastic bag. Press out all of the air and close the bag. With a rolling pin or the bottom of a heavy pan, crush the cereal into fine crumbs.
In a large bowl, combine the crushed cereal, sugar, pecans and cocoa. Stir thoroughly. Add the orange juice concentrate and corn syrup, then stir until all ingredients are well moistened and the mixture holds together when squeezed into a ball.
Moistening your hands with cold water as needed, then form the mixture into 24 small balls.
Roll the balls in additional powdered sugar to coat.
Nutrition information per cluster: 51 calories; 18 calories from fat; 2 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 9 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 35 mg sodium.