Bittersweet Hazelnut Espresso Granola w/ Sour Cherries

Every other weekend I make a batch of granola. It makes a quick breakfast layered in a bowl with homemade plain yogurt and fresh fruit. Also, my husband LOVES granola. He eats it for breakfast, then second breakfast, and then snack, which means that sometimes I make a batch every weekend. He could eat worse things though, so I’m not complaining.

Homemade granola is a healthy alternative to store bought breakfast cereals which are often loaded with added sugars and preservatives. You can load your granola with whole grains, seeds, nuts, and dried fruit depending on what you are in the mood for. The options are truly endless in a well- stocked pantry.

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While I have a base granola recipe that I fall back on often, I also like to play with the sweeteners and other ingredients to create something new every once in awhile.

This version, Bittersweet Hazelnut Espresso Granola with dried cherries is sweet from the dried Bing cherries and agave, but bitter from the espresso, and it turns your milk into sort of a cocoa latte surprise that you get to enjoy at the end!

Bittersweet Hazelnut Espresso Granola w/ Dried Sour Cherries
makes roughly 8 cups

4 cups rolled oats
1 cup sunflower seeds
½ cup popped amaranth (you can sub another ½ cup oats)
1 cup coconut, unsweetened, shredded
4 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
¾ cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
¾ cup dried sour cherries

3 Tbsp. extra virgin coconut oil
¾ cup dark agave syrup
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup hot water
1 Tbsp. instant coffee or espresso

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl combine the oats, sunflower seeds, amaranth(if using), coconut, and cocoa. Stir until well combined. Then add the chopped hazelnuts and cherries; stir.

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In a saucepan over low heat melt the coconut oil, together with the agave. While those are melting, in a small bowl dissolve the instant coffee or espresso in ¼ cup of hot water. Once dissolved add to the coconut oil, agave mixture, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

Add the warm liquid to the oat mixture and stir until everything is well coated.

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Spread the granola in a thin, even layer onto two cookie sheets and bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. At ten minutes give each cookie sheet a good stir.

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Notes**
– I like my granola really well cooked and crunchy so I cooked it for the full amount of time, but if you like yours a little on the chewier side go for less baking time.
– You could substitute any grain for the amaranth if you want, or just use more oats. I think buckwheat groats, raw millet, or whole flax seeds would all be delicious.

Question:
What is your favorite way to eat granola?
 
I eat my granola in a small bowl with a little bit of almond milk for a snack.

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