East More Chocolate for Breakfast
Chocolate for breakfast. It’s so right. Beyond chocolate croissants, Nutella on toast, and Count Chocula, we simply need more options, right?
The reason extends (far) beyond the heavenly taste of chocolate: dark chocolate ( & cocoa powder, too) is serious health food, loaded with minerals and powerful antioxidants. Cocoa powder and dark chocolate with a high cocoa content may have the potential to:
- Improve cognition (thinking ability)
- Boost your mood (you weren’t imagining it!)
- Improve blood sugar levels
- Lower the risk of cancer
- Increase good cholesterol, lower bad cholesterol
- Prevent heart disease
- Lower the risk of stroke
Thank you, science.
A Healthy Chocolate Breakfast Option: Oil-Free Chocolate Granola
The scientific chocolate news is good, but a bar of chocolate first thing in the morning is probably not the best option, at least on a regular basis (scientists, prove me wrong on this one). In the meantime, I suggest an easy-to-make solution: my Oil-Free Chocolate Granola!
How to Make Oil-Free Chocolate Granola
It takes very little time to make this crunchy, cluster-ific granola. For the dry ingredients, you will needs:
- Rolled oats (quick or old-fashioned, certified GF as needed)
- Unsweetened flake or shredded coconut
- Brown crisp rice cereal (GF version of Rice Krispies)
- a small handful of nuts or seeds
Mix everything but the crisp rice cereal in a large bowl, and then make the chocolate syrup, which coats the dry ingredients. In a small saucepan, combine water, unsweetened cocoa powder, coconut sugar (or the sugar of your choice), and a bit of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and then reduce heat and cook 2 minutes longer.
Let the syrup cool about 5 minutes and stir in a teaspoon of vanilla, if desired.
How to Bake the Granola
Pour the cooled syrup over the oat mixture, stirring to coat completely, and then stir into crisp rice cereal, stirring to coat. I found that the crisp rice cereal stays crispier if stirred in after the initial addition of the syrup
Bake the granola in a preheated 325F oven for 35 to 40 minutes (longer if needed) until completely dry. The lower temperature is important: it dries out the granola without overbrowning it. Also, do not stir the granola during the baking, or immediately after (or you will break up the clusters).
Cool the granola (completely) on the baking sheet and then break into pieces. YUM!
How to Store the Granola
Store the granola in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. If you want to keep it longer, store all or part of it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Enjoy the granola for breakfast, but go at it for healthy snacking and dessert, too!
Oil-free chocolate granola is exactly what your morning (and snacking) routine needs! It is also naturally vegan and gluten-free.
- 2 cups rolled oats (certified GF, as needed)
- 1/3 cup unsweetened flaked or shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped nuts or seeds
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup crispy brown rice cereal (GF version of Rice Krispies)
- Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, stir together the oats, coconut and nuts/seeds.
- In a small saucepan, whisk together the water, coconut sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Bring to a boil, whisking, until blended and smooth. Reduce heat to low and cook for 2 minutes longer (sugar should be completely dissolved). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, if using. Cool for 5 minutes.
- Pour cocoa mixture over oat mixture, stirring to coat. Stir in the crisp rice cereal, stirring to coat. Spread in a thin even layer on the prepared baking sheet (do not space apart, press mixture together into a rectangle to promote clusters).
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until granola is completely dry (do not stir). Remove from oven and cool completely on baking sheet.
- Break up granola into pieces with hands or a wooden spoon. Store in an airtight container.
Storage: Store the granola in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months.
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Baking
- Serving Size: 1/2 cup
- Calories: 228
- Sugar: 11.7 g
- Sodium: 162.5 mg
- Fat: 6.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 3.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 40.8 g
- Fiber: 6 g
- Protein: 5.7 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: oil-free granola, oil-free, chocolate, cocoa, granola, vegan, high-fiber, gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free