Hello lovelies! I don’t think it’s actually going to be possible to begin this post without a mention of the glorious weather we’ve been so blessed with lately. To me, it feels like those long summers of childhood, when the summer days went on forever and there was a haze of hopefulness in the air. That feeling of looking out of the classroom window and longing to be outside; of bike rides and village summer fayres; of river running (wow! I need to introduce our boys to this incredibly fun pastime: old, smelly trainers at the ready!) and long walks through fields covered in long summer grasses. Nostalgia.
This recipe, on the other hand, is not, for me, nostalgic. I spent my formative years, up until when I had my first child at 28, consuming generic breakfast cereals like the majority of this nation does. But how did “breakfast“ become this way? Why is breakfast so commonly poured out of a box from a huge selection of breakfast cereals in a cupboard? And why are so many of these cereals massively high in sugar and actually not that great-tasting or satisfying? And why is the portion size used as a reference intake on cereal boxes so tiny? Does anybody actually limit their breakfast intake to 30g cereal? The type of breakfast I have created here, granola, is often one of the worst offenders, containing so much added sugar that the health benefits of starting the day with a fantastic energy-boost of oats, nuts and other energy and nutrient rich ingredients, seem to come at a price. Looking at a box of granola in our own cupboard (yes, I too have one of those aforementioned cupboards, although the boxes contained therein are weetabix, porridge oats, shredded wheat, and bran flakes, other than the granola) the ingredients are indeed nourishing and provide a fantastic serving of slow-release energy through complex carbohydrates to keep you going through the morning, however, it contains both sugar and honey as sweeteners. If you are able to enlighten me, please do, as to why it is necessary to add both of these ingredients. Why not just the honey? Also, “sugar” is ambiguous. In what form is the sugar? I clearly need to look into these questions and educate myself.
The granola in this recipe though contains no added sugar, simply a bit of honey to sweeten it, plus an absolute plethora of great-for-your-body ingredients. I made my second batch earlier this week and I’m thoroughly enjoying eating it for my breakfast. I must admit to you though, that I am storing it in a Tupperware box!!! And that the oats came out of a box in the first place! Haha 😀 I hope you’ll join me in taking your breakfast outside the box. There is plenty more inspiration on my breakfast recipes page and on my Instagram feed, where you’ll find all sorts of ideas which don’t involve any boxes at all! Keep a look out for my project page on the website too (yet to be published), where you’ll find details of my Breakfast Outside the Box initiative. In the meantime, here is the recipe for my Chocolate Granola.
- 150g jumbo rolled oats
- 100g Brazil nuts
- 20g puffed quinoa
- 30g desiccated coconut
- 50g raw buckwheat
- 30g cacao nibs
- 1 heaped tbsp raw cacao
- 3 level tbsp honey
- 2 heaped tbsp coconut oil
- Grind of salt (I used Pink Himalayan)
Preheat oven to 150°C fan.
Chop the Brazil nuts with a chef’s knife then add to a large bowl along with the oats, quinoa, desiccated coconut and buckwheat. Grind over a little salt (or just use a small pinch). Mix together.
Melt the coconut oil in a microwave (or you can also put it in a heatproof bowl in the oven when you start the recipe and allow it to melt slowly whilst you prepare the other ingredients) then add to a small bowl with the honey and raw cacao. Stir well until the cacao and honey have combined with the coconut oil and a chocolatey drizzle has formed.
Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix well, then, finally, add the cacao nibs and give it a last stir.
Grease a baking tray with coconut oil then pour out the granola mixture onto the tray. Spread it out evenly, then create clumps by squeezing bits together with your hands, so you end up with lovely, crunchy clusters. Keep the mixture evenly spread out on the tray.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, then remove and cool for a couple of minutes until the tray is cool enough to handle. Using a turner, scrape the granola off the bottom of the tray to release any stuck bits, then either leave it on the baking tray to cool, or take a large piece of baking paper with the edges folded up to make a barrier (see photo), place it on a cooling rack, and pour the granola out onto the paper to cool. Once cool store in an air-tight container.
I’ve been enjoying my Chocolate Granola with a splash of plant-based milk; I’ve been using almond or soya, but oat milk would also be delicious. I’d like to try it as a sprinkle on yogurt or fresh fruit, and I’m sure there are plenty of other exciting ways in which it could be used. How do you think you would eat it?
The best thing about this granola is that it is sufficiently sweet to satisfy if you are a fan of something sweet in the mornings, yet the sweetness is only mild, and is tempered with the other flavours included in the recipe, particularly the buckwheat and toasted Brazil nuts. The toasted quinoa adds a tiny little crunch, and the flavours all combine to create a really exciting experience of texture and flavour. Raw cacao is also well known as an anti-oxidant (it is cocoa in its pre-sweetened form, basically) and is a much richer and more intense flavour than other “chocolate” flavourings often used in breakfast cereals. I’d absolutely love to know what you think of this recipe, so please do give me some feedback in the comments.
Thank you, as always, dear foodies.