Chocolate Coconut Cashew Granola

Chocolate for breakfast? That sounds like a decadent dessert-type guilty pleasure. When I think of super sweet breakfasts, I imagine waffles or pancakes topped with a huge pile of whipped cream, maybe some chocolate sprinkles or a big drizzle of syrup. Yum! But this is not the way to start a weekday, no matter how tempting. That stuff belongs to the weekend!

I have been craving bananas and chocolate for a few days but didn’t want to go over to the dark, er … dessert side. Instead, the idea of chocolate in the morning morphed into a healthy quick breakfast idea that we enjoyed for a few weeks.

The inspiration for this chocolate granola comes from Kitchen Confidante’s Mocha Coconut Granola Working with what I had in our pantry, I added a few ingredients here and substituted a few others there. As with most granola recipes, this is a jumping off point. You should add whatever dried nuts and fruit you want to create your own custom bowl of hearty granola.

Serve Chocolate Granola with whole milk plain yogurt, some fresh strawberries and a drizzle of honey, or sprinkle over your favorite chocolate muffin mix for a little crunch. Of course, if you’re like us, you’ll have a hard time resisting eating by the handfuls out of the jar.

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Chocolate Granola

coconut oil cooking spray
3 cups rolled oats, multi grain cereal or a combination
1/4 cup flax seeds
2/3 cup chopped cashews
1/2 cup desiccated coconut, divided
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup agave
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons espresso powder, or instant coffee
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cacao nibs

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lightly misting with coconut oil cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together the cereal, flax seeds, cashews, and a 1/4 cup of the desiccated coconut. Mix together. In a small sauce pan over low-medium heat, add the coconut oil, agave, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and a small pinch of salt. Heat, whisking until a smooth consistency.

Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal and mix until well combined. Spread on the baking sheet and bake for about 35 minutes. Checking every 10-15 minutes, gently string the cereal and rotating the pan.

Allow to cool and store in an airtight container for two weeks or longer.  

Good-bye Kashi, we’ll miss you… Hello, Granola!

Since going plastic free some of our regular purchases have been nixed from our shopping list. We used to eat Kashi shredded wheat squares for a quick breakfast and sometimes as a late night snack. It was organic and healthy with not a lot of sugar, and even though it was in a cardboard box we weren’t okay with the packaging since the inner bag was made of plastic! Our response was, Is the plastic bag really necessary? The way we see it, all it does is add to the shelf life of the product, meaning that the manufacturer —Kellogg’s now owns Kashi–can keep it on the shelf much longer than it really should be there. What if Kellogg’s decided to use a waxed paper bag instead? It could still stay on the shelf for just as long. Or, even better, if they decided to sell the delicious squares in bulk instead of in boxes, eliminating the need for packaging all together. Kellogg’s executives, if your reading our blog (which we both doubt), we’re asking you to start selling your cereals in bulk. We’re not anti-corporation, we just think that there’s a better way to sell your products and eliminate the need for unnecessary plastic and paper.

A weekday morning breakfast; granola and bananas in milk.

The bulk section at our grocery store, Rainbow Grocery, sells only granola and muesli. I make my own muesli, so I thought how hard can it be to make granola. I found out it’s not hard at all. With Martha Stewart’s granola recipe as a blue-print, I started on my own recipe with items I had on hand. I’m sure Martha’s is just as good, if not better, and one day, when I have all the ingredients, I’ll give it a try. For now though, what follows is my granola recipe. Use it as a morning cereal with milk or yogurt, an ice cream topping, or just eat a handful as a snack. However you eat it I hope you’ll enjoy the “healthy” benefits of the cereal.

This is the reason we don’t start a home business. Even Moe likes our granola.

Granola (Version I)

2 tablespoons light flavor oil (canola, grapeseed, etc.)
5 cups oats
¼ cup flax seeds
2/3 cup pumpkin seeds
2/3 cup sunflower seeds
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup agave syrup (or honey)
1 orange (zest and juice)
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup cranberries
½ cup currants or raisins
½ cup dehydrated coconut

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly oil two sheet pans with 1 tablespoon oil each. Toss the oats, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds in a large bowl. Heat the maple syrup, agave syrup (or honey), orange juice and zest, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, until barely starting to boil. Toss the syrup with the oat mixture and spread out between the sheet pans.

Place the sheet pans in the oven for 45 minutes, stirring the mixture and rotating the pans every 15 minutes. Allow the granola to cool on the pans. Put the toasted granola in the large bowl with the cranberries, currants or raisins, and coconut. Toss everything together and store in an airtight container. It will stay fresh for at least 2 weeks.

Cheers, Jason & Steve