Chocolate Granola that is made with nutrient dense nuts and seeds, sweetened naturally with dates and speckled with chunks of dark chocolate.
This post was updated from the original posted July 17, 2017. This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.
Granola. Healthy, or not? That is the question. I’ve been scouring the packages in stores for a healthy chocolate granola for quite some time because my husband really likes granola and he is so tired of coming home from the grocery claiming to have found a healthy option only to have me read through the label and show him why it’s just not so. I went to many stores and finally decided that I would just have to make some myself. Even on-line it was hard to find a recipe for healthy chocolate granola that actually lived up to the “healthy” hype.
Recently some friends stopped by to hang out and brought with them the makings for ice cream sundaes. I was seriously tempted by the caramel sauce…..but when I read the ingredients, I paused long enough to digest what all of that sugar would do to me and kindly declined. But, I kept thinking about how much I’ve always liked caramel sauce and had resolved to find a way to make a healthier version.
I often use medjool dates for a sweetener when baking or making sauces because even though they do contain a good amount of sugar, they are also loaded with fiber which slows the absorption of that sugar and therefore is lower on the glycemic index—meaning you don’t wind up with a sugar high and then a subsequent crash. Dates also have a lot of nutritional benefits, unlike processed sugar. Dates have a significant amount of both potassium, calcium, magnesium, and have been proven to decrease cholesterol and boost bone health.
So, when hubby asked me again last week to make some granola, I made my delicious apple cinnamon granola, but I make that one all the time and I knew he had been looking at chocolate granola at the store, so that is what I wanted to make for him.
I googled healthy chocolate granola but didn’t come up with anything I wanted to make and then I remembered the wonderful and healthy caramel sauce I had been working on, which I knew would be an awesome start to a healthy chocolate granola recipe.
When made with wholesome natural ingredients without adding any sugar, granola can be a healthy option for breakfast, or snacks or toppings on a smoothie bowl, or bowl of chia pudding.
Let me warn you in advance though…..this chocolate granola has a clean ingredient list, but it still needs to be consumed in moderation and that is not easy. It’s so yummy and checks off all the boxes in a highly addictive food: chocolate, almonds, caramel, sea salt. Check. Check. Check. So, back to the original question: Is granola healthy? This one is!
- 1 cup pitted medjool dates (approx 10)
- ½ cup very hot water
- 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- ¼ cup ground flax seeds (flax meal)
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅓ cup dark chocolate chunks
- ½ teaspoon Maldoon or other flakey finishing sea salt
- Flaked coconut would also be a good addition to this recipe. I am allergic to coconut, so I don't use it, but if you enjoy coconut, add ⅓ cup with the dry ingredients.
- Preheat oven to 325 and line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
- In a food processor, combine dates and hot water to form a paste. Scrape down the sides and blend again until there are no traces of date chunks. Add in the maple syrup, avocado oil and vanilla extract and process until smooth and pourable.
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, chia, flax, cocoa powder and cinnamon. Pour the liquid ingredients from the food processor into the dry ingredients and mix well, taking care to pull up the powder from the bottom of the bowl to be sure everything is incorporated and you have a chunky paste.
- Spread mixture onto prepared baking pan and bake for 35 minutes. Sprinkle on chopped chocolate and return to over for 3 minutes to soften----but not totally melt---chocolate. Remove from oven and sprinkle on the flaky sea salt while it's still warm so it will adhere.
- Let granola cool, undisturbed for several hours. Once granola is totally cool, break into chunks and store in airtight container.