It was getting out of control.
For the past few months, I had been voraciously eating granola, that I’d been buying at the grocery store. Sacrilege. But wait, it had a cute name! – it was called, “Love Crunch.” But more importantly, it contained chocolate. Oops! Details.
The tipping point was when Longer Legs raised an eyebrow when I was serving myself the third bowl of the day, as an after-dinner snack. It was time to crunch the love out. And maybe think about doing ab crunches.
I don’t think that I am alone in periodically eating the same thing over and over – the comfort of having something unchanging to turn to is a strong grounding force in life, whether it be gustatory, or wearing the same pants everyday for a week (come on, you know you’ve done it at least once, like, maybe last week…). Needless to say, I know I am lucky in many ways, including having the time and energy to wax self-indulgent lyrical about edible delights, but like anyone else, I have challenges too and I’m not always graceful in dealing with them. Let’s face it: you can’t be happy all the time; it’s statistically impossible.
But, when the return to something familiar and comforting becomes a reflexive habit, it’s time to reassess. And make your own granola.
After a brief episode of playing Adult and going to Costco, I had a pantry bursting with the necessary ingredients to make my own riff on the Love Crunch, and thus no excuse to buy pre-made granola again. Creating a new recipe based on the retreat-worthy granola recipe, I wanted to make sure there was coconut and chocolate in this new-love, since those were the things that drew me to the Love Crunch in the first place. But things feel more balanced when they are in sets of threes, no? So I decided to layer on the riffing with the 3 C’s. First, the 3 C’s of life are choices, chances, and changes. So why couldn’t the 3 C’s of granola be coconut, chocolate, and…coffee? It just seemed like the right thing to do. And if this was to be my new grounding force, I felt that it should contain all the things I love – so that I could be better equipped to deal with all the choices, chances, and changes happening in life.
In the end, I decided to exercise some restraint and use cocoa powder instead of full-on chocolate, but read to the bottom of this post and you’ll see a note about that. What’s nice is that the cocoa powder adds a lush dark brown colour to the granola, and a hint of bitterness that plays well with the maple syrup. Also, maybe instant coffee seems like a cop-out but it feels like a waste to bake with real coffee, since the heat will drive all the subtle flavour notes away. Better to have a cup of coffee made with freshly roasted, well-sourced beans served beside the granola, me thinks.
Side note: coconut oil is a real sexy foodstuff right now, as it contains medium-chain triglycerides, which have been shown to increase the fat-burning tendencies of the body. Eat fat to burn fat? That’s science for you.
Cocoa, coffee & coconut granola
makes 12 servings, ish
4-½ cups (400 g) rolled oats (certified gluten-free, if that’s a concern)
1-½ cups (165 g) mix of chopped almonds and walnuts
3 cups (378 g) mix of mostly pumpkin seeds and some hemp seeds
½ cup (98 g) coconut oil
½ cup (132 g) brown rice syrup
½ cup (140 g) maple syrup
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp instant coffee powder
1-½ tsp flaky sea salt
Lightly pulse about 1/3 of the rolled oats in a blender to break down slightly. I find that the granola then gets interesting clumps due to the varying size of the oat particles.
Combine the oats, nuts and seeds in a large mixing bowl.
In a small saucepan, gently heat the coconut oil, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, cocoa powder, and instant coffee until the oil melts and the mixture is runny. Stir to mix.
Pour the oil/syrup mixture over the oats and mix together. Spread evenly over two large baking sheets. Bake at 325 F, for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Due to the inherently dark colour of this granola, it’s hard to tell when it’s roasted, so I err on the side of caution and turn the oven off at 20 minutes and let the granola continue drying out in the oven. When it is cool, sprinkle in the sea salt and store in a large jar.
If you really want to get crazy (and by “crazy” I mean, “be amazing”), you could stir in some large coconut flakes and chocolate chips after the granola has cooled. Now you’ve just made a granola that’s perfect for dessert! You could serve it over ice cream, or mascarpone cheese folded into whipped cream – oh my! Or just eat it for breakfast with thick yoghurt. Dessert for breakfast? Yes please; that sounds like a great way to guarantee a good day.