Chocolate Crunchies with Cranberries and Pecans

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Even at those times when you think nothing can cure your hangry attitude, I promise you’ll feel better if you eat something sweet.

Vertical image of mini candies in small white cupcake liners, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

A slightly empty tummy can be quelled if you munch on a couple of these mini crunchies!

They’re easy to make, and the two-dozen yield will keep in your refrigerator for up to two weeks – they really are the smartest choice when you want a homemade chocolate fix to boost your spirit that goes beyond just gnawing on a few squares of a candy bar, but doesn’t involve the time-consuming tasks of mixing, baking, cooling, and decorating a chocolate cake.

Vertical top-down image of small cocoa candies in mini cupcake liners next to cereal pieces and flaky sea salt on a white board.

There are seven ingredients total in these treats: dark chocolate, coconut oil, pecans, crisp rice cereal, dried cranberries, sugar, and salt.

After toasting the chopped pecans and melting the chocolate, you combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, form into balls, sprinkle with sea salt, and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

Transferring the mixture into mini cupcake liners will be just a little bit messy. But it’s so much faster than making cookies or pies from scratch, especially when you use a small scooper to help you measure.

Vertical image of rows of crispy candies in mini white cupcake liners on a slate board next to pieces of cereal.

And is there a better pick-me-up than licking away any melted chocolate that makes its way onto your fingertips?

I know that would be enough to instantly put a smile on my face, turning that hangry frown upside down. I’m sure you’ll have the same reaction!

Vertical top down image of two pink plates with small chocolate-covered treats in white liners.

These bite-sized babies are sweet and toasty, crunchy and chewy, and small enough to enjoy more than one in a sitting if you need multiple boosts of edible happiness.

The toasted pecans add just the right amount of distinctly nutty flavor that you’ll love with each bite, so I seriously suggest not skipping the step that asks you to toast them in a skillet.

Vertical close-up image of rows of crispy candies in mini white cupcake liners on a slate board next to pieces of cereal.

The roasted nuttiness, combined with the slightly bitter dark chocolate, tart dried cranberries, and flakes of sea salt, all bring extra flair to these tasty sweets – you can easily serve them as a stimulating midday snack food and as a fun party food.

And if the way they disappeared within a few minutes during a recent get-together here was any indication…

They’re clearly delicious!

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Horizontal image of mini candies in small white cupcake liners next to flaky sea salt.

Chocolate Crunchies with Cranberries and Pecans

  • Author: Nikki Cervone
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 24 bite-sized treats 1x


Dried cranberries, toasted pecans, and rice cereal combine with melted dark chocolate to create little bites for a snack or fun party food. Read more now.


  • 1/2 cup raw pecans
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60-75% cacao), chopped
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling


  1. Arrange 24 mini muffin cups on a large tray or half-sized rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
  2. Add the pecans to a small dry skillet and place it over medium heat. Toast the nuts while stirring occasionally for about 3-5 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a cutting board and cool slightly before chopping into small pieces.
  3. While the pecans are cooling, melt the chocolate in a double boiler on the stovetop or in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave. Whisk in the coconut oil.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, stir to combine the cereal, toasted pecans, dried cranberries, and granulated sugar until evenly distributed.
  5. Pour the melted chocolate into the mixing bowl, and gently fold it in with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is completely incorporated with the other ingredients.
  6. Use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop to measure and carefully drop even portions of the mixture into each muffin cup.
  7. Transfer the tray to the refrigerator and chill until the chocolate is set, about 20-30 minutes. Serve, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Chocolate
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Keywords: chocolate, pecan, dried cranberry, rice crisps, cereal

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep and Measure

Arrange 24 mini paper muffin cups on a large tray or rimmed half baking sheet.

Set out a small skillet, a large mixing bowl, a whisk, a couple rubber spatulas, a 2-tablespoon cookie scooper, and a few kitchen towels to keep your work station and your hands clean – it will get a little messy while you’re assembling!

Set out a large, clean cutting board and a sharp chef’s knife.

Horizontal image of measured food items in bowls and a skillet.

If you’re planning to melt the chocolate on the stovetop, prepare a double boiler by filling the pot with a few inches of water, bringing it to a boil, and setting the insert on top. If you’re melting it in the microwave, get out a microwave-safe bowl.

Weigh the bittersweet bars and chop it into small pieces. Small, evenly chopped pieces will melt more quickly than large, uneven chunks.

Measure the pecans and place them in the skillet, spread out in a single layer. Measure out the cereal, dried cranberries, and granulated sugar into the large mixing bowl.

Refined rice or brown rice crisps cereal are two good options to use, and both are available on Amazon.

Measure the coconut oil in a small bowl. Set out the flaky sea salt.

Step 2 – Toast and Chop the Pecans

Place the skillet over medium heat on the stovetop. Tossing occasionally, toast the pecans for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the pieces are slightly browned in spots and very fragrant.

Horizontal image of chopped toasted pecans on a white plate.

Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the nuts to the cutting board. Cool for about 5 minutes before chopping into small pieces.

While they’re cooling, you can move on to the next step.

Step 3 – Melt Chocolate and Add Oil

Melt the chopped bars in your double boiler or in the microwave, stirring occasionally so it melts evenly.

Horizontal image of melted chocolate and a tablespoon of coconut oil in a bowl stirred with a spatula.

If using the microwave, heat in 20-second increments, stirring in between, until completely melted.

Once it’s fully melted, transfer it away from the heat source if you’re working on the stove. Whisk in the coconut oil until completely blended.

Step 4 – Combine All Ingredients

Add the chopped pecans to the mixing bowl with the other dry ingredients and mix until everything is evenly distributed.

Horizontal image of combining cereal with melted chocolate in a bowl.

Pour the melted chocolate over the dry ingredients. Using your rubber spatula, gently fold everything together. Continue mixing until all of the ingredients are completely incorporated and evenly distributed, coated in the chocolate.

Do not stir the mixture vigorously, to avoid crushing the cereal.

Step 5 – Portion

Use the 2-tablespoon cookie scooper to scoop out a portion of the mixture. Carefully transfer it into a muffin cup on your tray.

Horizontal image of portioning a mix in a scooper over a tray of cupcake liners.

Because the chocolate hasn’t set yet, individual pieces of cereal may scatter slightly as you are scooping – if necessary, use your fingers or a clean small spoon to reform the mounds in the muffin cups.

Repeat with the remaining mixture.

When all of the muffin cups have been filled, sprinkle the top of each mound with a little flaky sea salt.

Step 6 – Refrigerate to Set

Transfer the tray to the refrigerator uncovered. Let the mounds chill and harden until they are completely set, for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Horizontal image of portioned candies in liners on a tray.

The chocolate will be solid when it’s ready, and will no longer appear wet. You should be able to touch it without anything transferring to your fingertip.

Step 7 – Serve and Store

After chilling, serve the mounds or store them in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Horizontal image of rows of crispy candies in mini white cupcake liners on a slate board next to pieces of cereal.

When ready to eat, I advise to let them sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before eating in order to soften the dried fruit and take the chill off the chocolate. Enjoy!

Substitutions Are So Easy

Don’t like bittersweet chocolate? Not a fan of pecans? Tart cranberries not your thing? Trying to reduce your sugar intake? Looking to incorporate more whole grains in your diet?

Horizontal top down image of two pink plates with small chocolate-covered treats in white liners.

Allow this recipe to cater to your own individual needs, wants, and desires…

All of them!

Don’t like the bitter flavor of dark chocolate? You can use an equal amount of a bar with a smaller percentage of cacao. Milk chocolate would be so sweet and lovely in this recipe.

Any variety of toasted and chopped nuts will work wonders – choose your favorite one!

If cranberries are too tart for you, you can substitute the same amount of raisins instead. Dried apricots and dates would also be great, as long as you chop them into small pieces before mixing with the other ingredients.

In order to reduce the amount of sugar, you can omit the tablespoon of granulated sugar, and be sure to use dried cranberries with no sugar added.

Horizontal image of mini candies in small white cupcake liners next to flaky sea salt.

And consider using crispy brown rice cereal if you are in need of more whole grains – it’s what we use in our peanut butter honey clusters, and they are divine!

How will you customize this easily adaptable recipe? Your comments and ideas are greatly appreciated, so please leave a message below.

You love it, I love it, we all love chocolate! Here are a few more of my favorites from Foodal that I can’t wait to share with you. Have these no-bake recipes ready and at your disposal whenever those hangry feelings take over again:

Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on February 16, 2010. Last updated on December 6, 2022.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Nikki Cervone

Nikki Cervone is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

22 thoughts on “Chocolate Crunchies with Cranberries and Pecans”

  1. I’ve told many people about winter in Chicago (because they think I’m crazy moving from TX). I can deal with the cold and the snow and the slush but its the darkness that gets me every time. Feb can be below zero everyday, but since the sun is still up past 5, I can deal.

  2. I love this post – I like the use of dried cranberries; seems that this recipe is ideal for other variations/combinations of dried fruits and nuts.

  3. makes me so happy to see these pictures! I know, there are a big mess, but such a nice little sweet morsel you get at the end of that mess 😉

  4. Wow, these are like an elegant and grown-up version of a thing we used to have at *every* Kiwi kid’s birthday party – rice crispies. ‘Cept they had shortening in ’em…

  5. Oh and Allison! (we were commenting at the same time, it seems) – thank you for the comment and for the shared optimism. Spring IS around the corner!

  6. These look great. I’ve managed to snack on all of the chocolate around the house and am scared to bring any more in (I’m weak late at night), but these look great. Love the idea of sort of creating your own little jumbles with what you have on hand. Thanks, Shannalee!

  7. Honestly, you could have just said “chocolate” and “crunchy” and you would have had me right there. But, you didn’t — you mentioned “salty”… and now I’m completely hooked on the idea. Will be putting these in my “to make” file.


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