Granola is the one thing I consistently let myself splurge on when I go to the grocery store. Maybe it comes from my cereal obsession; I still have dreams that I’ll be featured on that game show where they let you run down the aisles in the grocery store and fill up your cart with as many things as you can. If I was on the show, I’d probably spend about 70% of my time in the cereal aisle.
Or maybe it’s just because granola is so good. Unless you’re gluten-free, what’s not to love? It’s crunchy, slightly sweet, and super adaptable. It’s almost like a cake, cookie or ice cream cone, in that you can adapt it to you specifications or find your favorite flavor combination. Honestly, resistance is futile when I see the words: “Cherry Dark Chocolate Chip Almond Granola.”
But now and again, I like to remind myself that I can make some of my favorite splurges at home. And occasionally, they turn out pretty well. I’m not saying I’m anywhere near Michele’s Granola level. But this recipe comes pretty close.
It combines whole almonds, rolled oats, cocoa powder and shredded coconut, and is only slightly sweet. If you want it sweeter, I would suggest adding more honey or sugar. But I also think that it’s a good base, and you can always drizzle a little honey on later.
The other perk of this granola is how it smells while it’s baking. My whole apartment smelled like a fudge brownie, and I didn’t even have to do the prep work.
Cocoa Almond Granola with Coconut (adapted from Joy the Baker Cookbook)
4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup raw whole almonds
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened, if you prefer; I used unsweetened)
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Place racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, toss together oats, almonds, coconut, cinnamon, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan combine sugar, honey, oil and coconut oil. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to bubble. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Pour the warm sugar mixture over the oat mixture and toss with a wooden spoon. Toss until all of the oats and almond bits are at least moistened by the sugar mixture. Spoon mixture onto prepared baking sheets and place in the oven.
Bake granola for 30 minutes, removing from the oven to toss and stir 2 to 3 times during baking. Granola is done when it is toasted around the edges and fragrant.
Remove from the oven and cool completely. Store in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 2 weeks.