I love granola, don’t get me wrong, but most of the good ones are the nutritional equivalent of crumbled up cookies. And since cookies are my favorite food, I’m sure that’s why I find granola so tasty. But I wanted to create a more healthful version, chock full of healthy fats, with way less sugar, yet still studded with anti-oxidant packed, super dark chocolate. The result is this addictive, salty-sweet, crumbly, crunchy grainless granola. The secret to huge, crispy clusters is adding a few egg whites to the mix before baking. You’ll never go back to making granola without it once you try it. That being said, its just as tasty without. So, if you’re vegan, just leave them out. Try it on sprinkled on your oatmeal, crumbled over a bowl of fruit, to top your toast, or, my favorite, to make a decadent, but nutrient packed banana-whips sundae! I’ve tried this recipe with almond butter, mixed nut butter, and peanut butter – it’s really versatile. You could also substitute different types of nuts and/or chocolate, or add dried fruit after its baked and cooled.
1/2 cup unsalted almonds (I used toasted, but raw would work too)
1/2 cup unsalted hazelnuts (I used roasted, but raw would work too)
1/2 cup raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1/3 cup almond flour
1/4 cup unsweetened, creamy almond butter
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 1/2 Tbsp coconut sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 egg white (optional)
2/3 cup chopped dark chocolate (72% cacao or higher)
Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat together the almond butter, coconut oil, coconut sugar, vanilla, sea salt, and cinnamon over medium heat. Stir the mix until combined and just starting to bubble. Set aside to cool slightly while you prepare the rest of the mix.
In the bowl of a food processor combine the almonds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds. Pulse until they are coarsely chopped – you want about half to be crumb-sized and the other half to be big, discernable pieces.
In a large bowl, combine the chopped nuts and seeds, the chia seeds, almond flour, the cooled almond butter mixture, and the egg white. Stir until well combined. Then spread the mix on a parchment lined baking sheet – you want one thin, contiguous layer. Imagine you’re shaping one giant cookie. This thin, big shape will help you create those huge, amazing clusters.
Bake the granola for 40 minutes, flipping the pan half-way through cooking. Once the granola is deeply toasted and smelling great, take it out of the oven and cool on the counter for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, put it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to fully firm up and solidify those clusters. Once chilled, take it out of the fridge, gently break up into clusters and fold in the chopped chocolate. I like to store it in an airtight container in the fridge, but I promise it won’t last long!