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.

Almond Joy Granola

Almond Joy GranolaWell, I said I was going to do savory recipes for the rest of January, but I just can’t help myself.

After weeks of eating pastry for breakfast (kolaches, y’all), I practically leapt at getting back to my usual yogurt and granola last week. It might sound a tad boring, but I adore granola. Well, I adore homemade granola. The prepared stuff tends to be overly sweet and full of ingredients I can’t pronounce and, with little exception, all tastes the same to me. Homemade granola though? It’s just sweet enough, I know exactly what’s in it, and I can make any flavor I want: see exhibits A, B, and C.

Almond Joy GranolaReturning home from three weeks away, I didn’t have any idea what kind of mix-ins I’d find in my cabinets. The holiday season was a blur for this baker–I went through so many chocolate chips and pecans and pounds of sugar that I honestly wasn’t sure what I had left. When I went into my kitchen to investigate, I found a 1/2 jar of almond butter leftover from a cookie order, 1/4 of a Trader Joe’s Pound Plus dark chocolate bar, about 10 half-bags of nuts, and 24 ounces (!) of unsweetened coconut. Seeing all those ingredients piled on the counter, I knew exactly what kind of granola I’d be having: Almond Joy, y’all!

Almond Joy GranolaAlmond Joy GranolaWhile it’s certainly not like eating a candy bar for breakfast, this Almond Joy Granola is decadent and delicious–there’s chocolate in there after all. It’s full of toasted almond flavor, scented with coconut, and littered with chunks of dark chocolate. Stirred into some plain yogurt or milk, it’s a delightful way to start the day. And did I mention that it’s good for you? While granola is generally pretty calorie dense, it packs a nutritional punch. The protein and good fats in the oats, almonds, and almond butter, the all-around goodness of coconut oil, and the antioxidants in dark chocolate are an excellent combination. Well, I may be exaggerating about the chocolate, but who cares–I just gave you an excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast.Almond Joy Granola

Almond Joy Granola
makes about 2 quarts

1/4 cup creamy almond butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut
1 cup roughly-chopped raw almonds
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together almond butter, maple syrup, olive oil, light brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold the oats, coconut, and chopped almonds into the mixture.

Spread mixture in an even layer on the prepared pan. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring every fifteen minutes. Cool granola in the pan on a rack. Scatter chopped chocolate over the cooled granola and stir together with a spatula.

Transfer granola to an airtight container. It will keep well at room temperature for up to three weeks.

Tropical Cashew Granola

 It’s officially summer, and I can’t wait to get to the beach. I’m only four weeks away from a trip to Maine with a bunch of friends–it can’t get here soon enough! It’s super woodsy and we definitely won’t see any palm trees, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be eating tons of tropical fruit while we’re up there.

How, you may ask, will we have tropical fruit in the wilds of Maine? In the form of my new favorite granola! 
Yes, I am that person who packs homemade granola into her luggage. And why wouldn’t I? It’s full of whole grains, nuts, and fruit, so it’s super satisfying. It’s also refined sugar-free, gluten free, and vegan, so this is one recipe that will fit all my friends’ various dietary needs.

Between easy breakfasts and snacks, I know we will go through the full two-quart batch in no time. I mean, who can resist this Tropical Cashew Granola?! It’s loaded with dried mango and pineapple, toasted coconut, and cashews–perfect for any day at the beach. 
Normally, I am not a huge fan of dried fruit (especially in granola), but I make exceptions for dried mango and pineapple. I’ll eat a whole six-ounce bag in a day! The sweet mango, tangy pineapple, and toasted coconut work incredibly well with the crunchy oats and cashews. A moderate amount of sweetener and a full teaspoon of salt keep it all just sweet enough to enjoy with your favorite yogurt and fresh fruit. I can’t get enough. 

Having made a lot of granola in the last few years, I can tell you that the homemade stuff is a snap to put together and infinitely better than any boxed variety. When you make something from scratch, you can control the ingredients and customize it to your taste.

For instance, I love my Maple Pecan Granola (which I used as the base for this recipe), but sometimes I want my granola to have more clusters than that recipe allows. So, I took the basic formula and swapped half the maple syrup for brown rice syrup. It’s super thick and allows the oats and cashews to cluster a bit without adding excessive amounts sweetener. And since brown rice syrup has a mild flavor, the maple is still front and center!

Tropical Cashew Granola is like summer in a bowl! Don’t be surprised if the combination of mango, pineapple, coconut, and buttery cashews has you packing a jar for your vacation, too! 

  Looking for more granola? Check out my Peanut Butter Granola!

Tropical Cashew Granola
makes about two quarts

1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup brown rice syrup*
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups raw unsalted cashews, chopped
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
6 ounces unsweetened dried mango, chopped into bite-size pieces
6 ounces unsweetened dried pineapple, chopped into bite-size pieces

Preheat oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together olive oil, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, and salt. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in oats, cashews, and coconut. Spread mixture on prepared pan. Bake 40 minutes, stirring at the 15 and 30 minute marks to prevent burning.

When granola is done baking, let cool five minutes before stirring in dried mango and pineapple pieces. Let granola cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three weeks.

Note:

Brown rice syrup can be found near the honey and syrups at most well-stocked grocery stores, or on Amazon. If you cannot find it or do not wish to use it, you may use an equal volume of mild honey or maple syrup. Your granola will not have many clusters, but it will still be delicious.

Granola Cookies

 By now, you all know how much I love granola. After a lifetime of insisting I hated it, I tried the homemade variety, and the rest is history. There is always a giant jar of the stuff on my counter, full of crispy, glossy oats and whatever odds and ends I can find in my cookie mix-in cabinet.

Yes, I have an entire cabinet dedicated to cookie mix-ins. Doesn’t everybody?! 😜 

My current batch is a play on my Maple Pecan Granola, made with pecans and almonds, large flaked coconut, chia seeds, and brown rice syrup to encourage a little clustering. I usually eat it with yogurt and fruit, but last week, I got a little crazy and bypassed the breakfast option in favor of cookies.

I took my favorite chewy oatmeal cookie base, swapped in granola for 2/3 of the quantity of oats, and threw in some chocolate chips. Within an hour (because this dough doesn’t require a chill!), I was biting into warm, chewy, chocolaty, nutty Granola Cookies. 

I love this recipe as-is, but I’ve already been dreaming up other flavors. How about peanut butter? Swap in 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter for one stick of the softened butter, and use my Peanut Butter Granola! Yum! If you like dried fruit in your granola, you could swap out some or all of the chocolate chips for raisins, dried cranberries, or anything else that strikes your fancy.

You guys, these Granola Cookies are so good that I’ve made three batches in five days. I’m out of granola mid-week and I’m not even miffed about it. Nope–changing my routine in the name of dessert has been totally worth it. And even if it weren’t, I could console myself with a cookie or two. 

 Granola Cookies
makes about 5 dozen cookies

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
2 1/2 cups granola (homemade or purchased)
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, 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 dark brown and granulated sugars, followed by eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture in two installments, mixing to combine. Beat in oats and granola, followed by chocolate chips. Drop dough by the tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets, making sure the mounds of dough are at least 2 inches apart.

Bake 4 minutes. Rotate the sheet pans top to bottom in the oven before baking for an additional 4-5 minutes. Cookies are done when the tops are no longer doughy-looking. Let cool on the pans for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat baking process with any remaining dough.

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

Peanut Butter Granola

 It must just be leftovers week here on E2 Bakes Brooklyn.

Yesterday, I posted a baked french toast recipe that came to be because a friend gave me two loaves of day-old artisan bread. Today, I’m bringing you my new favorite granola recipe, all because an out-of-town friend gave me most of a jar of peanut butter that she had as a snack in her hotel room, and another gave me a one-pound bag of honey-roasted peanuts after a party I catered with him. My friends just like to give me food, apparently. And I am happy to take anything they give me and try to make it into something delicious. Today, I succeeded. 

This Peanut Butter Granola is ridiculously good. It’s almost like having peanut butter cookies for breakfast! Except that it’s high in protein and totally whole grain, so it’s actually good for you! And it gets better: this recipe takes 90 minutes from the time you turn on the oven to when you put the cooled granola in an airtight container. On top of all that, it’s simple as can be 😊

Just whisk together equal parts peanut butter, maple syrup, and olive oil, along with some vanilla. This base will keep everything crispy, sweet, and peanut buttery (of course). Next comes a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar. While I would have loved to keep this recipe refined sugar-free, this small amount helps the finished product get extra crunchy. If you don’t want to use brown sugar, you may substitute coconut or Demerara sugars. Add in just a touch of cinnamon and some salt. Neither will have a prominent flavor here–they just allow the peanut butter to shine. Without them, our granola could be overly sweet and a little bland.

How sad is the idea of bland peanut butter anything?! 😭

Once the liquid ingredients are ready to go, it’s time to fold in the oats and honey-roasted peanuts. They are used here in an almost 50/50 ratio. There are slightly more oats, but rest assured that there are plenty of peanuts in every crunchy bite! If that amount of chopped nuts sounds like too much for your taste, feel free to replace some of them with an equal volume of oats. 

 
   
After everything is mixed together, spread the granola on a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet. Bake the granola for 40-45 minutes at 300F, stirring every fifteen minutes. By the time it’s done cooking, your house will smell unbelievable! Let the granola cool in the pan on a cooling rack before transferring it to an airtight container for up to three weeks.

I like to eat this granola with Greek yogurt and fruit, but it’s also great with milk, or just by itself as an afternoon snack. How good would a handful be with some chocolate chips?! Oooh, or peanut butter chips! However you choose to enjoy it, you’ll love this Peanut Butter Granola!

  
Looking for more granola? Check out my easy Maple Pecan Granola!

Peanut Butter Granola
makes about 4.5 cups

1/4 cup natural or creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar*, packed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats*
2 cups honey roasted peanuts*, roughly chopped

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

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together peanut butter, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold the oats and chopped peanuts into the mixture.

Once everything is coated in the peanut butter mixture, spread it in an even layer on the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring every fifteen minutes. Cool granola in the pan on a rack. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three weeks.

Notes:

1. Coconut or Demerara sugars may be substituted.
2. Use certified gluten-free oats for gluten-free granola.
3. If this is too many peanuts for you, replace 1/2 cup of them with an equal volume of old-fashioned oats.