This is my "weekend" granola for abit of self pampering. It really is delish, full of chocolate goodness that you may be surprised to learn is sans the dairy and refined sugar. I've used my favourite sweetener, maple syrup, to up the ante on this humble bowl of oats, seeds and nuts. If you have a sweeter tooth then feel free to add some dried fruit or fresh fruit before serving. I'm afraid I cannot take all the credit for this creation as I bought a box of chocolate granola with a similar ingredient list about a year ago and it bowled me over. They used agave syrup which I don't stock in my pantry. So I set about mixing and baking a week ago to come up with a slightly different ingredient list than the store bought version (I personally hate buying granola as it's easy to make and infinitely tastes so much better). A couple of trays later I was happy to proclaim that there will be no more boxed granola purchases at our house in the forseeable future.
Decadent Chocolate Granola
4 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup unsweetened dessicated coconut
Grated zest of 2 oranges
1/3 cup macadamia nut oil
Generous 1/2 cup maple syrup
1 heaped tbsp of coarsely ground cacao nibs
2 heaped tbsp unsweetened good quality cocoa powder, sifted
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius/320 fahrenheit. And line a large baking sheet with baking parchment.
Combine the oats, almonds, seeds, coconut, orange zest, cacao nibs and sifted cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl. Place the macadamia oil and maple syrup in a saucepan over a low heat, stir to mix until heated through but not left to boil. Add the oil and syrup mix to the bowl and combine until everything is well coated. Evenly lay the granola out onto the baking sheet and pop into the oven to bake for about 30 minutes. Rotate the tray and using a wooden spoon stir the mixture around a few times. You want to get the granola nice and toasty with no wet bits. And at the same time you don't want it to burn so depending on your oven keep a close eye on it towards the end of the baking time.
Then remove from the oven, turn the oven off and using a metal spatula press down on the granola to create clumps. Then return the tray to the oven to cool down at the same time as the oven. You could make a tray in the evening and leave in the oven (turned off) overnight so it will be ready for the next days breakfast. Enjoy a bowl with your favourite milk.