Variety Flour Thursday: Chocolate Almond Granola

May 19, 2011

Often people are criticized for being stubborn. Hey, I criticize myself for being stubborn. But being stubborn can have its perks. If I’m not a huge fan of a certain music, I’ll read about it, listen to it, research it, find out why other people like it, analyze my own negative feelings toward it, and try as hard as I can to appreciate at least one aspect of it. It’s a long, sometimes tedious and sometimes fruitless, journey but I end up with a broadened musical horizon and, in general, more reconciled with the world around me.

Same goes for food. I will try a food/ingredient in as many combinations as possible until I find a way to make myself truly enjoy that particular food/ingredient. Luckily, when it comes to food, there isn’t much out there I don’t enjoy already. Unluckily, one of the foods that I have a hard time enjoying is granola. WEIRD. Rolled oats? Heck yes. Any sort of nut or dried fruit? I’ll eat the entire bag in a sitting. Doesn’t matter what it is. I’ll love it. But the combination of all these ingredients in granola form? I’d probably pass.

I’ve been thinking about this recipe since reading it this winter, and finally got around to making it. You’re witnessing my first attempt at making granola myself, and I’m hoping that this cures my ridiculous granola avoidance. First observation, granola is mad easy to prepare. Second observation, granola smells AWESOME when it’s baking. Does all granola smell this amazing while roasting in the oven?

All in all, I ended up really enjoying the end product but can’t see myself eating it by itself. How do you eat your granola? I’m anxious to start putting it in things and see if I can’t love it by the start of next week!

Chocolate Almond Granola

(Recipe adapted from Food in Jars, originally “Cocoa Hazelnut Granola”)

Yields about 4 cups granola

Ingredients:

1 cup slivered or coarsely chopped almonds

3 cups rolled, or “old-fashioned”, oats

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Pinch of salt

¼ cup neutral oil (I used canola only because it was what I had on hand)

½ cup cane syrup, maple syrup, or agave syrup (I used a maple and agave syrup blend)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. When I need to toast nuts for a specific recipe, I spread them out on an ungreased baking sheet and place them in the oven, while it’s preheating, for 5 to 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them, though, because nuts burn quickly.

2. When almonds come out of oven, all toasty and beautiful, mix with oats in a large mixing bowl. Add cocoa powder and salt, and then stir until all ingredients are coated.

3. Add oil, then using the same liquid measuring cup add syrup. Stir again until all ingredients are evenly coated.

4. Spread granola out evenly on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

5. When granola comes out of the oven, make a tightly packed granola mountain on baking sheet and let cool completely in order to get large chunks of granola.

Store granola in an airtight container at room temperature.

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