Nutty Chocolate Granola

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Now I have written a couple of posts before about breakfast and I think I’ve made it my opinion on breakfast cereals known. Unless you are buying the really over processed, brightly coloured, so sweet it’ll make your face pucker kind, cereal/ muesli comes in boxes that clearly were not meant to feed a family of 6 (or at least not a family of 6 that doesn’t live in a supermarket) and they are incredibly expensive. But even I have to admit that they are unbelievably  convenient. Hence the reason we all keep going back to the cereal cupboard every morning.

Now I think I’ve also made my thoughts on oats well known. I’m a fan. Not only are oats high in fibre and will keep you feeling fuller for longer, they’ll reduce the risk of heart disease and even have substances in them (avenanthramides) that will help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol. They’ll also help to regulate your blood sugar meaning that they shouldn’t leave you reaching for a pick me up during a mid morning slump and amongst other things (think reducing the risk of several cancers) they’ll help nourish all the beneficial bacteria we all have living inside us leaving us better equipped to face the world and fight if any bugs it wants to throw at us. But what do you do if you don’t like porridge? I do find it hard to believe that there are anti porridge people out there, but believe me, there are and I live with one. And this is the recipe I turn to when I want to make sure he gets his oats too. Don’t expect a super sweet commercially produced granola here. You will get a deliciously nutty granola with a hint of chocolatey luxury but one that tastes like cereal as we used to and should still eat it. But if you’ve got a sweet tooth, don’t adjust it. It has enough maple syrup in it; your taste buds will adjust instead in only a few mouthfuls and then you’ll be hooked too.

On a final note; this granola doesn’t need to be kept just for breakfasts. It makes a gorgeous crumble topping, or a welcome addition to a bowl of natural yoghurt or even better kefir, or an after school snack preferably eaten by the fistful straight out of the tin.

Nutty Chocolate Granola Recipe

Serves 6-8

60g desiccated coconut

250g rolled oats (or muesli base if you prefer to have some bran and wheat in there too)

100g chopped almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts and pecans

3 tbsps cocoa powder

6 tbsps water

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

6 tbsps maple syrup

75g chopped dates (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180 deg. C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Mix together your cocoa and water to make a smooth but fairly loose paste, you may want to use slightly more water. Then stir in the oil and the maple syrup.

Put all of the dry ingredients except for the dates in a large bowl and pour over the cocoa and syrup mixture, then stir well to combine. Make sure everything is well coated.

Put the mixture on your tray and then bake it for around 30-35 minutes. Be careful that you don’t overcook it- the cocoa can be deceptive and can disguise any burning. I speak from experience.

Give it the odd toss around as you pass the oven from time to time but don’t worry about it going crunchy, this happens as it cools.

When it is cooked and cooled, toss through the dates if you are using them and store in an airtight container for a week or so.

Enjoy!

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