I’m a girl of simple tastes.
(There’s a joke about my husband in there somewhere, I’m sure of it..)
I like my yolks runny, my pancakes fluffy and my cheese within arm’s reach at all times. I’m also partial to sweet flavours early in the day – and any breakfast cereal that doubles as snack material is a winner in my book. Enter granola.
It was early on a summer’s day when the warm breeze blew across my cheek and inspired me to bake…. HA! Yeah scrap that, it was last Wednesday and I was hungry. And given that it was right about brunch time and I was having trouble deciding if I should do breakfast or morning tea granola seemed to be a sound choice. In fact it was such a good choice that I stubbornly decided I didn’t want anything else, despite the itsy bitsy problem that we didn’t have any granola in the house. So what else does a recovering cancer patient with the day off and hankering for granola do? She bakes. And as a recovering cancer patient I decided that it was my right to have chocolate for breakfast, so choc-crunch granola became the order of the day.
My go-to recipe is a quinoa granola that I’ve posted on Facebook a few times but I wanted this to be a simple homage to one girl’s love of chocolate. I dropped the quinoa and the cinnamon and added raw cacao powder and cacao nibs in their place. I also scrapped the fruit and nut add-ins because, well, I was out of them.
Raw cacao powder (unlike conventional cocoa powder) is made without heat treatment, so it retains almost all of its nutritional value. Raw cacao has an intense chocolate aroma like dark chocolate, and is rich in magnesium for energy production and sulfur for strong hair and nails. It’s also got more antioxidants than both red wine and green tea and is a natural mood enhancer, thanks to its high levels of anandamide and phenylethyamine.
Given that I made the recipe up on the spot there was the potential for disaster but it turned out SPOT ON. The best part was taste-testing the final product and having the cacao leach out into the milk – it was like the aftermath of my childhood Coco Pops breakfast bowls with a nutritionally-sound, adult twist.
I enjoyed it for breakfast that day, sprinkled over yoghurt for morning tea the next and eaten straight out of the tupperware container the day after that. I’m yet to find a time that doesn’t feel right to eat it, but I’ll keep eating it throughout the day just in case one does exist. Just to make sure.
Choc Crunch Granola
(serving size=1/3 cup)
1 cup oats
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup almonds, chopped
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup raw cacao powder
¼ cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
¼ cup rice syrup
¼ cup cacao nibs
1) Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.
2) Combine oats, coconut, almonds, pumpkin seeds and cacao powder in a large bowl.
3) Melt coconut oil and rice syrup together, stir in vanilla bean paste then pour over dry mix. Stir well.
4) Spread the wet granola onto a lined baking tray and bake for 50 minutes, stirring halfway through.
5) Immediately after removing the tray from the oven stir though the cacao nibs (the mixture will still be slightly wet so the nibs will stick to the clumps).
6) Let cool completely (the granola will crisp upon cooling) and store in an airtight container.
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