Chocolate Sunday – Chocolate Granola!

Ever since I bought cacao nibs for the first time last month, I’ve been thinking that they would be a great addition to granola instead of chocolate chips, which I’ve used many times for my father-in-law’s granola recipe. (I blogged about cacao nibs here.)

chocolate granola & bananaI don’t have anything against chocolate chips in granola – they’re a treat! – but raw cacao nibs strike me as more breakfasty and less desserty.

I also thought it would be interesting to add cocoa powder to the granola, so that it would be “real” chocolate granola, not just regular granola with chocolate chips.

I see the idea of chocolate granola isn’t original. There are several recipes online. But there are infinite variations.

Here’s my version:

Chocolate Granola

4 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup coconut

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1/2 c chopped pecans

1/2 cup chopped almonds

1/2 cup cocoa powder

scant 1/2 cup cacao nibs

sea salt to taste

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup maple syrup (or honey)

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Grease large baking pan.

2. Combine oats, coconut, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chopped nuts, cocoa powder, cacao nibs and sea salt in baking pan. Stir together.

3. In glass measuring cup, whisk oil, maple syrup or honey, and vanilla extract.  Pour over dry ingredients and stir together.

4. Bake 20-25 minutes in preheated 300 degree oven, stirring twice.

5. Let cool, and store in airtight containers.


Chocolate Sunday on Tuesday – Cacao Nibs!

I started to write this post before we lost power because of Toronto’s ice storm… Hope those still without electricity are staying warm, and safe.

Last week I bought a bag of raw cacao nibs for the first time. Sweet cacao nibs, a “Mayan Superfood” with antioxidants, fibre and magnesium, according to the label. Certified organic too!

cacao nibsThen I got home and thought – “What do I do with them?”

The manufacturer’s website suggests eating them right out of the bag. That was perfect advice for the last couple of days.

Before the storm hit, I added the nibs to my breakfast yogourt for a treat. Plans to bake with them over the weekend were put on hold!

One of my favourite breakfasts is a combination of Greek yogourt, fresh and sometimes dried fruit, nuts and/or seeds, cinnamon and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

A serving of Greek yogourt is nourishing and satisfying (high in protein)… but not very exciting on its own. Fruit and nuts or seeds add a variety of textures and nutrients, and lots of flavour. The cacao nibs add a whole other dimension.

Raw cacao nibs are the essence of chocolate. I like them, but they don’t taste like the chocolate I’m used to. The ones I bought, sweetened with organic cane juice, taste more “healthy” than chocolate chips, probably their closest conventional counterpart.

The texture of the nibs is a surprise too – less consistent and smooth than processed chocolate. As well, the nibs vary in size and shape. Every mouthful is interesting, and you don’t need a huge quantity to be satisfied.

My best breakfast this past week consisted of Greek yogourt, organic raspberries, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, cut-up Brazil nuts, cacao nibs, cinnamon and a bit of honey. Delicious – and it held me until lunchtime.

Happy Holidays! Planning to blog again Friday.