Monday, 13 April 2015

Chocolate granola

The first whiff of sunshine always refocuses the eating habits - the mere threat of having to actually wear short sleeve tops brings more clarity than scales ever could. (As an aside, I have recently discovered the 30 days of Yoga programme with Adriene - and despite not being your usual type of yoga bunny, I am loving it - but let's all get real: a bit of yoga is not going to make you bikini-ready. It's just not.)

I'm a regular of the 5:2 'diet' (it's not really a diet), but my 5 days have been a little bit indulgent of late. And, Easter has made it pretty difficult to pass on the chocolate.

I love chocolate.

This isn't the healthiest granola you're ever going to see, but at least you know what's in it, and it's a cinch to make. Plus, it makes the kitchen smell fantastic. Me, domestic goddess? But of course. Even - and this is a bit win - eldest Martini quite likes this - he feels it's a bit like chocolate porridge. Sort of. The 'chocolate' is a mix of cocoa powder and nutella. Obviously. Nutella truly is the food of the gods.

Coming from the wife of a French Canadian, I (of course) use maple syrup to sweeten the granola. Honey would probably work just as well, but I haven't tried it. Get the lightest (in colour) one you can - the lighter the colour, the better the quality. Oh, and make sure it's actually made from maples - apparently, its completely legal to mix it with all sorts of other things and still call it 'maple'. We got ours (we have quite the stash) the last time we were in Quebec, but this one will be just fine.

Anyway, if you're feeling that you can't quite give up the chocolate just yet, but you're looking in the mirror and thinking 'hmmm. Really should sort that out soon...' then this won't do you any harm. Only warning: you may eat the whole batch in one sitting. Which sort of defeats the point. But, I guess you can always start again tomorrow... Enjoy.

You'll need:

1/4 cup of coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup cocoa powder - the best quality you can get hold of
1/4 cup nutella
3 cups porridge oats (not instant)
1/4 cup shredded or desiccated coconut
1/4 cup of pecans, roughly chopped
1/4 cup of walnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped


- Preheat the oven to 170 (or 160 for fan-assisted). Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment or a silicon mat.

- In a saucepan, melt together the coconut oil, maple syrup, cocoa powder and nutella over a low heat. Keep stirring until it's liquid gold. Try to resist eating with a spoon.

- Mix together all the dry ingredients. Don't be too worried about the amounts - apart from the oats - and if you don't like something, just leave it out and/or replace with something you prefer. Granola is pretty easy really.

- Add the melted ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Everything should be well coated - it takes longer than you think, so keep at it.

- Tip the whole mixture onto the prepared baking tray and spread as thinly and evenly as possible. Put onto the middle shelf of the oven.

- Cook for around 30 minutes, stirring a few times to make sure the top doesn't get burnt and the mix underneath is heated through. When you remove from the oven, leave to go cool without stirring - as it cools it will clump together, making for perfect granola!

- Store in an airtight container - it will keep for at least three weeks. Serve with milk, yogurt, berries - or just eat straight from the jar with a spoon. I won't tell if you don't.

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