As a Christmas gift, my Mom bought me a bag of True North Choco Granola which is made in Brattleboro Vermont where I grew up. Now I love a good pain au chocolat for breakfast as much as the next guy, but I have to tell you that I've always looked at chocolate breakfast cereals with a bit of disdain. No Cocoa Puffs or Count Chocula for me, thank you very much. So it was with more than a little hesitation that I tried the granola this past week, fully expecting that it would be too sweet to contemplate as a staple at breakfast, but rather might be put to better use as an ice cream topping or something.
Oh how wrong I was.
The granola, a mix of oats, cocoa powder, light brown sugar, and various seeds among other flavorings was not too sweet at all. It had a satisfying crunch, a deep, dark chocolate flavor, and best of all left me with a slurpable pool of chocolate milk at the end of it all…..YUM! Sadly, the 12 ounce bag I was gifted lasted me only a handful of days……dang.
The no chocolate for breakfast withdrawal was immediate and severe.
A quick study of the label on the empty bag of the True North, as well as a few loops around the net for some choco granola reconnaissance led to the recipe I'm sharing with you today. Unlike most I found on-line, mine does NOT include chocolate chips because….well, I just couldn't, not for breakfast (True North's great granola doesn't have chocolate chips either, thank goodness).
The recipe I landed on is actually just a riff on the granola I've made for years. I swapped out the canola oil for coconut, added banana chips in lieu of raisins, cranberries, and date pieces, and added a full 2/3 cup of high octane Vahlrona cocoa powder. This stuff is insanely good. Go ahead give it a try, you know you want an excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast!
Cheers – Steve
Chocolate Coconut Granola
- 4 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/3 cup honey
- pinch of kosher salt
- 2/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
- 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut chips *
- 1 1/2 cups banana chips, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- Heat oven to 300℉
- Place coconut oil, honey (warmed in the microwave if it seems too thick), cardamom, cinnamon, salt, the vanilla and coconut extracts, and cocoa powder in a medium bowl and whisk until well combined.
- In a large bowl combine the oats, brown sugar, nuts and seeds, and flaked coconut, and mix well. Add the cocoa, oil and honey mixture, and stir to coat the dry ingredients. Pour the mix onto a large (I use a 20x12), rimmed, non-stick baking sheet (or a regular sheet with a Silpat 11-5/8-by-16-1/2-Inch Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat ) and spread to an even thickness.
- Place the baking sheet into the oven on the center rack and cook for around 40 - 45 minutes, removing the sheet at 15 minute intervals to stir the granola.
- Once cooked, remove the sheet tray and place it on a rack to cool. When the granola has completely cooled, break it up into a large bowl, mix in the banana chips and place in a large air tight container for storage.