By Mary Johnson

One year, when I was thinking about what to give as holiday gifts, a dear friend and the Julia Child in my life said, “Make candy! I’ll help you.” Sadly, I lost my candy-making companion this year, but I would bet that she is making the best candy ever in some other dimension right now. And if she isn’t, her friends are all remembering the wonderful goodies she shared with us. So, in honor of Mary Johnson, try this easy recipe. It’s great for gift-giving, and has the added benefit of the nutrient-rich flavor of nuts, while delivering 19 vitamins and minerals, and seven grams of protein per serving.

½ cup chopped raw walnuts

½ cup chopped raw pecans

8 ounces dark chocolate chips*

½ cup roughly chopped dried cranberries

flaky sea salt, for sprinkling


  • Set a medium skillet over medium heat. When hot, add in the walnuts and pecans and cook, stirring frequently for about 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly toasted and fragrant. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly (about 10 minutes).
  • Meanwhile, set 20 mini muffin liners on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet
  • Add the dark chocolate chips to a medium-sized microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until the mixture is smooth.
  • Stir in the toasted nuts and the dried cranberries until well combined.
  • Scoop about a heaping tablespoon of the mixture into each of the prepared liners. Sprinkle the tops immediately with some of the flaky sea salt.
  • Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about 1 hour, or until the chocolate is set. Transfer the clusters to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

*To keep these dairy free and vegan, be sure to use non-dairy chocolate chips. You can also use milk chocolate chips if you prefer them to dark chocolate.