In my world I see absolutely nothing wrong having chocolate for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack. I mean it has health benefits after all. Granted maybe not as many as say spinach, eggs or chicken but it does have health benefits. Chocolate and its main ingredient, cocoa, appear to reduce risk factors for heart disease. Flavanols in cocoa beans have antioxidant effects that reduce cell damage implicated in heart disease. Flavanols — which are more prevalent in dark chocolate than in milk chocolate or white chocolate — also help lower blood pressure and improve vascular function. In addition, some research has linked chocolate consumption to reduced risks of diabetes, stroke and heart attack. One caveat: The evidence for the health benefits of chocolate comes mostly from short-term and uncontrolled studies. More research is needed so definitely sign me up! In the meantime, if you want to add chocolate to your diet, do so in moderation. Why? Most commercial chocolate has ingredients that add fat, sugar and calories. And too much can contribute to weight gain, a risk factor for high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Choose dark chocolate with cocoa content of 65 percent or higher. Limit yourself to around 3 ounces (85 grams) a day, which is the amount some studies have shown to be helpful. Because this amount may provide up to 450 calories, you may want to cut calories in other areas or step up the exercise to compensate.
That being said, let me reiterate – chocolate for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack can’t be all that bad for you… in moderation! Soooooooooooo… how does some Sinfully Sexy Chocolate Granola grab your attention? Yeah I thought that you’d perk up with that comment.
Yeah, take a minute and bask in that chocolatey awesomeness. It’s all crunchy, sweet, savory, packed with chocolate and all kinds of just yum!
Now just like how I showed you in making your own Nutty Oat Cluster Granola you can put in whatever you want mix-ins wise. But the purpose of granola is not to load it up with candy and well, crap. I mean if you want that then eat a bag of M&M’s or Fritos (which both rock on their own). But granola should be on the healthier side. So add in healthy stuff – dried fruits, nuts, seeds, etc.
For me, I kept it simple – I added in raw coconut, some almonds and cacao nibs.
Have you tried cacao nibs yet? No? They are awesome and so healthy! Cacao nibs are bits of fermented, dried, roasted and crushed cacao bean. Prepackaged nibs you buy in a health food stores are just chocolate that hasn’t been ground and mixed with sugar yet. They’re extremely good for you, and have an intense chocolatey taste, but aren’t sweet at all. Nibs, on their own, taste vaguely similar to roasted coffee beans. Nibs are a bit crunchier than coffee beans, since some coffee beans can become quite delicate after roasting, but give primarily the same textural effect when covered in chocolate. Cacao nibs are always found in small pieces, rather than coffee bean-sized pieces. The flavor is slightly nutty and, while there are definitely some chocolate notes in there, they are primarily going to contribute texture and a hint of bitterness (the same as raw cocoa powder). Some beans will have a more complex flavor, but generally coffee beans will have a more interesting taste on their own. Cacao nibs do serve to draw out darker notes in chocolate, which is why they are such a popular addition.
So as you can see already this granola isn’t your typical prepackaged, artificially and chemically enhanced crap you buy in the store for $9 for 3 ounces. It’s packed with all kinds of healthy and nutritious stuff – oats, cocoa, cocoa nibs, coconut, almonds just for starters. Now I will tell you this – it does have sugar and some fat but in order to have truly crunchy, clustery and great granola you need this. I opted for dark brown sugar as I find that complimented the cocoa beautifully and instead of vegetable/canola oil I went with coconut oil. This is purely by choice as I like coconut oil better though you could easily use canola.
This is probably one of my all time favorite granolas to make to be honest. It has just such an amazing flavor and it stands out amongst the traditional granolas you have out there. For me I prefer to either snack on it as-is or pop some of it into my yogurt. Mr. Fantabulous is all about pouring some in a bowl and covering it in milk. He loves the fact that it makes the milk all chocolate-like (because he’s 4 years old apparently) and it’s like 2 treats in one then. Again, cause he’s 4. LOL
This lasts weeks stored in an air tight container like the one I have below. I actually got this container at my all time FAVORITE “food porn props” store (Homegoods) for like $2! I keep this on my kitchen table so when you’re walking by and you walk a snack, you can overlook the cookies, cakes and brownies and opt for something more healthy. Well okay, at least *I* do. Mr. Fantabulous is under the believe that if there is a cake, cookies, brownies AND this granola on the table that one must partake in all of the items at the same time as to not make one “jealous” of the other. I didn’t know these foods had feelings but apparently they do *wink*
Ah what I wouldn’t give for that man’s metabolism! Seriously I would LOVE one day to be able to eat everything he does in one day (just once) AND still manage to not gain a pound or better yet, lose weight! *shakes her head* His gene pool has to be from another universe I swear!
Anyway definitely go make this for yourself and some for your friends. This in a pretty little mason jar would make an awesome “Happy Monday” gift to someone. And if you find that you don’t have anyone to give that gift to, let me know and I’ll send you my mailing address!Print
- 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (use certified GF if you want gluten free granola!)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup Black Cocoa Powder *if you can’t find this use unsweetened
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1/2 cup milk or dark chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup Cacao Nibs
- 1 cup sliced almonds (optional)
- 1/2 cup Raw Coconut Flakes
- Preheat the oven to 350F with rack in the middle.
- Line a large jelly roll or rimmed large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix honey, brown sugar, espresso powder and salt.
- Whisk in melted coconut oil and cocoa powder until well combined.
- Add in oats, Cacao Nibs, Raw Coconut Flakes and almonds (if adding) and mix until all oats are moistened.
- Bake for 30 minutes, stirring + flipping every 10 minutes with a metal spatula.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips while the granola is still warm.
- Wait a minute and stir (no longer). This helps the chocolate melt just slightly and as you break up the granola the slightly melted chocolate will help form clusters.
- Cool completely before adding any other add-ins. Say chocolate covered espresso beans or chocolate covered almonds.
- Store in an air tight container.