Ancient Grains Chocolate Love Crunch Granola
Granola is one of those foods that has just a few basic ingredients, but is so easily customizable to fit a variety of tastes and seasons. Granola sometimes gets a bad rap for having not enough nutritional benefit and for being overly sweetened. We think you’ll find this recipe to be a healthy balance of the two. This recipe has more protein with the addition of hemp seeds, nut butter, and chopped nuts. It also packs more of a nutritional punch with the addition of the millet, quinoa, and cacao nibs.
- 8 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 cup raw almond pieces (or other type of raw nut)
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 cup uncooked millet
- 1/2 cup cacao powder
- 1 3/4 cup sweetener (honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, agave, etc.–a combination here tastes great!)
- 1/2 cup nut butter (almond was used here–but you can use any nut butter)
- 1/2 t salt
- 2 T vanilla paste or extract
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups dried cherries or cranberries
- 1 1/2 cups freeze dried strawberries
- 1/2 cup raw hemp seeds
- 1 cup cacao nibs
- *optional 1 1/2 cups chopped dark chocolate or miniature chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss together the oats, coconut flakes, almond pieces, quinoa, millet, and cacao powder. Stir together until the cacao is covering the dry ingredients.
- In a smaller mixing bowl (microwave safe), combine your sweetener, nut butter, salt, vanilla, and water. Stir these ingredients and then heat them briefly in the microwave (or alternatively on the stove top) in order to liquefy and be easier to add to the dry ingredients.
- Once your sweetening mixture is warm, add to the dry mix. Stir the granola until all the dry ingredients are coated with the sweetener.
- Divide your granola mix between the two baking pans and flatten with a spatula or by using your hands (you’ll want to wet them first).
- Place the pans in the oven and lower the temperature to 225 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove the pans and flip the granola in large sections. Try to keep the granola from breaking up too much at this point–you want them to stay together in large clumps.
- Put the pans back in the oven and cook for another 30 minutes.
- Remove the pans and once again flip the granola in large sections.
- Continue to cook the granola for another 20-30 minutes. You can check the granola by pulling a small cluster out of the oven and let cool to room temperature. It will start to dry out at this point and you should be able to tell if it will crisp up.
- Once the granola has cooked, turn the oven off, prop open the oven door, and let the granola slowly cool to room temperature. This allows the granola to dry out a bit longer and to get a nice crispy texture.
- Once the pans have cooled, remove from the oven. Break the granola into smaller chunks and add to a very large bowl.
- Add the hemp seeds, dried cherries/cranberries, freeze dried strawberries, and cacao nibs. Use your hands to toss the ingredients together to evenly distribute the ingredients.
- Store the granola in an air-tight container. The granola should stay for up to a month at room temperature.
This granola tastes great eaten straight out of the container, with milk, or over yogurt and berries. You can change up the nuts, dried fruits, and even the sweetener to reflect seasonal tastes. For example, try using pecans, maple syrup, brown sugar, and cranberries in the fall. You might also like honey, agave, walnuts, and blueberries in the spring or summer! Our taste-testing 2 year old declared the above recipe “yummy!”, but please add your own variations and reviews below in the comments.
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Photo Credits: Katherine
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Katherine lives in Kansas City with her husband, toddler, and 3 furry children. When she is not at home with her daughter, she is finishing up her Ph.D. in psychology or working on one of her multiple half-finished art projects. She loves ceramics, crafts, fitness, paper mache, and pretending to learn French and Spanish.