Thursday, July 11, 2013

Nutty Cocoa Granola with Tart Cherries

Holy cats this is good stuff!  Make it, quick, quick!!  Have a sharing plan firmly in place though...unless you need to stuff your hamster cheeks full to bursting all by yourself like I did the first time I made this granola.  Yep, I ate pretty much the whole batch.  The Monster got maaaaaybe 1/2 cup, but the rest was all me.  In. One. Day. *oink*

If you have a Costco membership, ours happens to carry the dried tart sour cherries for about 6-7 bucks a pound.  Compare that to the 19 dollars/lb. I paid when shopping the bulk section of our Austin Central Market!  Yeah, this was never going to get made again until my friend pointed me in the direction of Costco.  Now no one in this household's waistline is safe...
I've only made a few additions to the original recipe to enhance the nuttiness of the 'nola.  I use ~1/2 tsp almond extract and use 1 Tbs of roasted hazelnut oil for 1 of the Tbs. of coconut oil.  I also find that I'm adding more than 1/2 cup of the large coconut flakes.  They just get so nice and crispy.  Mmmm.
Delicious on it's own eaten out of hand, great on plain Greek yogurt, and if you eat it with milk, the milk turns into CHOCOLATE MILK! ;-)

Gotta go stir my 4th batch now...
Many thanks to Everybody Loves Sandwiches awesome blog for providing this recipe!

Nutty Cocoa Granola with Tart Cherries:
(slightly adapted from Everybody Loves Sandwiches' recipe)

4 cups regular rolled oats (use gluten-free oats if you require recipe to be GF)
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
1/2+ cup large unsweetened flaked coconut
4 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin coconut oil, melted (sub one of the Tbs with a toasted nut oil if you've got it)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
optional: 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup dried tart cherries (not sweet ones), roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 300 with enough space between the racks to be able to use 2 baking sheets.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

In a large bowl, combine oats, hazelnuts, almonds, coconut, cocoa powder and kosher salt.
In a glass measuring cup, heat the coconut oil in the microwave briefly until it's melted completely.
Add 1/3 maple syrup and almond extract, if using, to the oil.

Pour wet ingredients over the dry and stir until well combined.
Divide mixture evenly between the baking sheets.

Bake on separate racks for 15 minutes, then stir and rotate the sheet pans and return to the oven.
Bake for another 15 minutes, stir, then place back in the oven for about 5-7 more minutes...until sufficiently dry.  About 35-37 minutes total seems to work for me.
Stir in chopped cherries once you've removed the granola from the oven.

Once cooled, store in an airtight container and practice supreme amounts of willpower not to inhale it all in one sitting.

My latest hoard...

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