Cocoa Cashew Granola

True confession:  this recipe came about because I ran out of cinnamon.  This culinary constraint propelled me to create a new granola flavor — and it worked beautifully.

Cocoa Granola
Cocoa Cashew Granola

When you let this granola sit with milk for a minute or two in your bowl, the chocolate milk result is delightful — just like back in the day with Coco Puffs.  But this one is gonna be good for you with sustained, balanced energy, awesome fiber, serious crunch, AND chocolatey flavor.  Plus, you have the nutrition superpower of cocoa powder – which is full of health boosting polyphenols and flavinoids.  Enjoy!

Cocoa Cashew Granola

8 cups (28 oz) rolled whole oats
2 cups (8 oz) sliced raw almonds
1 cup (3 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
3 TB vanilla extract
2 TB water
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) avocado oil
1 cup plus 1 TB (13 oz) honey
1 cup (5 oz) raw cashews
1 cup (5 oz) sweetened shredded coconut, optional

Preheat oven to 300.  Heat honey in saucepan or in microwave until it is warmed through and is runny.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, cashews, cocoa powder, coconut (optional)  and salt.  Add warm honey, vanilla extract, water, and oil.  Blend until combined.

Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.  Spread the granola mixture evenly onto the two parchment lined baking sheets.  Lightly tamp down the granola into the pans into even layers.  Bake for 17 minutes.  At the 17 minute mark, rotate the pans so that the pan that was on the top rack is now on the bottom and vice versa.

Bake for 17 more minutes.  You want the granola to be chocolate brown and lightly toasty, but not too dark.  Use your nose as a guide – if it smells toasty, then the granola is likely just right.  The granola will become crisp and clumpy after it is cooled.  Don’t worry if it’s a little soft when it’s hot out of the oven.  Allow to cool until room temperature before disturbing the granola to get some nice clumps.  Store airtight.

This granola is only very lightly sweet tasting without milk, and is best with dairy or non-dairy milk.

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