Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaThe countdown to vacation is officially on! I am T-4 days away from driving up to Maine with my friends, VJ and Adam, and I. can’t. wait.

A lot of the appeal of this trip is that we can all be together while also doing our own things. VJ will be perfectly happy putting together puzzles all day long. I have big plans to spend at least a couple of days foraging and baking. This will be Adam’s first time to Swans Island, but I know he’ll settle in quickly. The great thing about this trip is that everyone can do exactly what they want to do—there are no definite plans or must-do activities. It’s positively blissful.

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaThe only thing that’s difficult about being on Swans Island is figuring out the menu. There are no large grocery stores on-island, so all groceries have to be carted over from a market on the mainland. This means that we spent last Saturday night gathered around Adam’s kitchen table planning out every single meal and snack so that we can shop efficiently and thoroughly. Easy enough, right?

WRONG. While Adam and I basically eat everything, VJ is a gluten-free vegan. Granted, she is the least difficult gluten-free vegan ever (ever ever ever), but it’s still a challenge to plan meals that we can all enjoy together. Honestly, it’s simpler to just make two grocery lists and hope for some ingredient overlap. Regardless, I’ve taken it upon myself to make one thing we can all share and enjoy equally. This Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola is the result, and it’s freaking fabulous.

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaLike most granola, Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola is super easy to make and infinitely more delicious than anything you’ll find in stores. It’s basically like crispy, crunchy Nutella-flavored magic…but gluten-free, vegan, and perfect for sharing with all my favorite people.

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaSalted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaSalted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaSalted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaOats and chopped raw hazelnuts are coated in a mixture of oil, maple syrup, dark brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla, before being baked until crisp. Once the granola isn’t searing hot anymore, four ounces of dark chocolate are mixed in. This creates some seriously amazing clusters 😍 You could certainly enjoy your granola like that, but I like to wait until it reaches room temperature and stir in a bit more chocolate—textural diversity for the win. Also, all that chocolate 😊😳🍫🍫🍫

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaI’ve already made two quarts of this granola for our trip. That may seem like a lot for three people, but between breakfasts and snacks, I know it’ll disappear quickly. And how couldn’t it? With crispy oats, toasty hazelnuts, a double dose of chocolate, and a big hit of salt to balance it all out, it’s guaranteed to keep all of us coming back for more.Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola
makes about 5-6 cups

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (I used certified gluten-free oats)
1 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) raw hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/3 cup neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
6 ounces chopped dark chocolate, divided

Preheat oven to 300F. Line a rimmed quarter sheet pan with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine oats and chopped hazelnuts. Set aside.

In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, combine oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and brown sugar. Use a fork to whisk in cocoa powder and salt until mixture is smooth. Pour liquid ingredients over oats and hazelnuts. Fold everything together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon.

Transfer mixture to prepared pan and spread into one even layer. Bake 40 minutes, stirring at the 15 and 30 minute marks. Let cool in the pan on a rack for at least 20 minutes, until it’s warm but can be handled. Scatter 4 ounces of chopped chocolate over the top and stir in. Let cool completely. Stir in remaining 2 ounces of chopped chocolate.

Granola may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.

My Favorite Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

My Favorite Pumpkin Oatmeal CookiesNaming these cookies was difficult. I know how dumb that sounds, but it seriously took me two days to come up with a name for this recipe. Job hazard, I suppose.

My Favorite Pumpkin Oatmeal CookiesMy Favorite Pumpkin Oatmeal CookiesI mean, these pumpkin oatmeal cookies are soft-centered and chewy-edged, perfectly spiced and full of pumpkin flavor. And then there are the add-ins: chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and chopped walnuts. As someone who’s not much for fruit with their chocolate, I have to say that I love this creamy, tangy, nutty combination. Looooove it.

My Favorite Pumpkin Oatmeal CookiesBut what on earth was I going to call them? Chocolate-Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies isn’t exactly a great name. No cookie really needs a six word name after all. That’s ridiculous. But Autumnal Oatmeal Cookies didn’t sound much better–so bland! And so, after spending entirely too long thinking about naming a recipe, I realized it was right in front of me the whole time. These are My Favorite Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies. Maybe they’ll be your favorite, too.My Favorite Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

My Favorite Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
makes 4 dozen cookies

3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1 1/2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
3 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

Place dried cranberries and boiling water in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in light brown sugar, followed by egg yolk, pumpkin purée, and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients followed by oats.

Strain cranberries and press out any excess water. Add them to the dough, followed by chocolate chips and chopped walnuts.

Scoop dough in 2 tablespoon increments* and drop 2 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake 10-11 minutes, until the edges are set and the centers look just a tad underbaked. Let cool on the pans for ten minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Note:

I use this medium cookie scoop.