Chocolate Granola

Homemade granola is the absolute best. Don’t get me wrong, there are some delicious ones that you can buy, but the home made stuff always tastes so much more authentic! The best bit is that you can fill it full of all of your favourite ingredients, rather than having to sift out those chewy dried pineapple chunks etc which, let’s be honest, nobody wants! Chocolate cereal is definitely not just for children, so I decided to make a slightly more sophisticated guilt- free chocolate cereal for grown ups.IMG_1024 To make one large batch of granola, you will need:

– 100g brown sugar

– 250g clear honey

– 60 ml sunflower oil

– 50g cocoa powder (I use Food Thoughts)

– 400g jumbo oats 

– 50g flaked almonds

– 50g hazelnuts

– 50g linseeds

– 50g sesame seeds

– 100g sunflower seeds

– 1/2 tsp sea salt

– 100g pumpkin seeds

– 100g chopped dried fruit of your choice (I like to use cherries and berries)IMG_1036Pre- heat your oven to 160 degrees (140 degrees fan). Start by popping the honey, oil and sugar into a pan, and carefully warm until the sugar is all dissolved and the liquid is melted. 
IMG_1038 IMG_1039Next, put all of the dry ingredients except for the dried fruit into a large bowl- the fruit gets stirred in at the end.
IMG_1046IMG_1045Not forgetting the all important cocoa!  I like to use Food Thoughts because it’s organic and unsweetened, meaning that you get a really strong and pure chocolate flavour.   IMG_1054Thoroughly mix all of the dry ingredients, then pour in the liquid and stir until all of the oats are coated in the honey mix. IMG_1071Once it is all fully combined, you should be left with a gooey chocolatey mixture that sticks together. Evenly distribute the mixture onto a couple of baking trays making sure that it is no more than 2cm deep across each tray.
IMG_1094 Pop into your pre- heated oven for 25 minutes. Take out of the oven and turn it all over, moving the drier outside bits into the middle, to ensure that it all bakes evenly. Put back into the oven for a further 15 minutes, and then it should be done. Don’t be concerned if the mixture still seems a little soft after this time- it will crisp up as it cools. A good way to test it is to put a spoonful in a teacup, let it cool for a minute, and then rattle it around the cup.  If it clanks against the side of the cup, you know that it is done, so take it out of the oven. If you think it is still not cooked however, pop it back in the oven for a little longer- each oven will be slightly different.  The worst thing you can do is over bake it and it will be too hard to eat, so make sure you keep an eye on it! Leave to cool and then scatter over the dried fruit.  IMG_1095 IMG_1097It really does make the most delicious breakfast. I like to keep mine simple and just serve it with milk and a good cup of coffee, but you can have it with fruit and yoghurt if you prefer.IMG_1108 IMG_1112Grab yourself a bowlful… IMG_1120 Pour over the milk….  IMG_1134 IMG_1133 And sit back and tuck in to a lovely chocolatey bowl of nutty granola!  IMG_1141The milk mixes with the cocoa powder to make a delicious bowl of chocolatey milk. It is very reminiscent of the milk left from coco pops I must say, which I don’t think anyone can complain about! IMG_1147IMG_1156IMG_1167I know it seems like a lot of effort when you can go and buy it, but I promise you that making your own granola is so much more rewarding and enjoyable. You can swap in or out whatever nuts and seeds you like, or have in your cupboards at the time. I went for hazelnuts because I think they go so well with chocolate, but you can use whichever nuts you prefer. Similarly, if your favourite dried fruit are cranberries then by all means throw those in too. It lasts for about a month (if you can be restrained enough to leave it that long) and stays just as fresh as when first baked.

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