Monday, August 10, 2020

Chocolate Honey Nut Granola Clusters

My absolute favourite healthy snack is granola! For me, snacks need to be crunchy and satiating as well as satisfying in the flavour department.

This chunky clustery granola ticks all of those boxes!

The big clusters means that it is absolutely crunchy and there's a secret to getting it that way (read on...).

Of course for this to be my tastiest granola, it has to be chocolate! And this delicious granola has melted bittersweet chocolate mixed right through! Fat comes in the form of a bit of butter (for incredible flavour) and olive oil for crispness and to make the chocolate more flowing to coat all the oats.

You can use any nuts and seeds that you prefer. I've made this with hazelnuts and pecans which was also incredible! Add some dried cranberries to the finished granola and you have yourself a holiday treat ;)

Sweetness comes from a blend of honey and brown sugar, and a hint of vanilla extract makes this truly taste like a treat!

How to make Granola Clusters:

The trick to achieving the clusters is to use a fraction of quick oats. Quick-cooking or "minute" oats are processed further to break them down to smaller fragments so that they absorb liquid quickly and cook faster. This also means that they will be stickier since they will easily release their soluble fiber which helps to bind them together. 

This really is a healthy snack that still makes you feel like you've just treated yourself. I think you will love it! And, when you pour yourself a bowl, you can watch as it turns your milk into the most incredible chocolate milk -- you'll feel like a kid again!

Chocolate Honey Nut Granola Clusters
makes 4-5 cups

2 cups (200g) regular rolled oats
1 ½ cups (135g) quick oats
3/4 cup (100g) whole raw almonds
¼ cup (35g) pepitas
1/3 cup (80ml) honey
¼ cup (55g) packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp (28g) unsalted butter
3 oz (85g) dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa), coarsely chopped
2 tbsp (30ml) olive oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
heaped ¼ tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 300°F and line a 9x13-inch baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss together both kinds of oats, almonds and pepitas.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine honey, brown sugar and butter and stir until the sugar melts. Bring the mixture to a boil and then remove from heat. Add chocolate, olive oil, vanilla and salt and stir until melted and smooth. Pour the warm chocolaty mixture into the bowl with the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all of the bits are evenly coated. 

Spread the mixture out onto your prepared baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, tossing the granola every 10 minutes to make sure it bakes evenly. It will smell fragrant and feel soft and dry (not sticky), but it will not be crisp when ready. It will crisp up as it cools.

Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the granola cool completely without stirring. Once cooled, break it up into clusters and transfer it to an airtight container. Store at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.

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