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Cocoa Almond Granola

We go to Florida each year to visit my parents (they spend their winters there, much to my dad’s happiness but my chagrin) and this year, they treated us to a fab breakfast buffet. My daughter made herself a fruit, yogurt and granola parfait and apparently this was a first time meal for her. She loved it and requested that I make it at home, STAT. I’ve always loved making granola (I know this makes me so “granola” but its actually ridiculously easy) so I found a simple recipe that had a bit more sugar and oil than I traditionally use in my granola, figuring it would still be a healthy snack for the kids.

Leo recently ate granola bites at a playdate that had chocolate in them, so he had been requesting something similar. The children’s dual requests could be merged with one addition – cocoa powder. America’s Test Kitchen recently compared types of chocolate to see which gave the most chocolate flavor, and cocoa powder won. It’s rich in flavonoids and devoid of sugar, so it was a perfect choice for granola.

I hadn’t planned on saving the recipe but my mom tried some and told me I needed to; plus it was the ideal nibble with my morning coffee. It was gone in three days and it’s on my short list of make again’s. Now, for substitutions. You can use different nuts or seeds just keep the measurements the same. You can decrease the amount of sugar but beware that it might not get as crunchy. Ditto for the oil. Next time I will add some dried cherries to the finished product.

Cocoa Almond Granola

Makes 5 c.

4 c. old fashioned oats

1 c. slivered almonds

1/2 c. pepitas

1/3 c. hemp hearts, ground flax seed or chia seeds

1/4 c. cocoa powder

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 heaping tsp. kosher salt

1/3 c. grapeseed or coconut oil

1/4 c. honey

2 tsp. vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with silat or parchment.
  2. Combine oats, almonds, pepitas, hemp hearts and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a small sauce pan combine brown sugar, salt, oil and honey. Stir well over medium high heat until simmering. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to coat. Spread on prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring several times. Let cool completely on pan. Store in airtight container at room temp up to several weeks.

For parfait, layer chopped stawberries (fresh or frozen) with plain Greek yogurt (drizzled with honey) and granola. Serve immediately.