Monday, February 25, 2013

cherry chocolate coconut granola



Granola is as versatile as the day is long.  It can be eaten on yogurt, in milk, by the hands full, in ice cream...  I am really loving it lately.  

I am a huge fan of the Caramel Apple variety I made last fall.  I decided for the winter, and in particular, honoring Valentine's Day, I'd search for a chocolate cherry option.  This one fit the bill nicely and made good V-day gifts for the boys' teachers.  

I adore dark chocolate, so I chose to do a Ghiradelli 60% cacao bar as my chocolate of choice. Obviously, if you don't appreciate that deeper, slightly bitter flair, go for milk chocolate.  

Hey!  Maybe you have a chocolate Easter bunny hiding in the back of your pantry too!  

I have shared before how I'd love to have a bed and breakfast one day.  And with that, it would thrill me to have a few items to stock a small shop... a few baked goods, homey art, maybe a smattering of hand-sewn or knitted items.  Maybe I'll have a "granola of the season" to serve for breakfast and also buy by the scoop.  What do you think?  Hmm...  Fall and Winter are covered. On to Spring, I say.  

My wheels are spinning...



Cherry Chocolate Coconut Granola
makes about 14 cups
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • 2/3 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cups sliced almonds
  • 6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 6 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups dried cherries
  • 8 oz. chocolate, coarsely chopped
~ Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  
~ Place a large* skillet over medium heat.  Add the coconut to the pan in an even layer and
    cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and toasted.  
~ Transfer to a bowl and wipe out the pan.  Return the pan to the heat and add the chopped 
    walnuts and sliced almonds.  
~ Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes.  
~ Stir in the oats and canola oil and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the oats
   are lightly toasted, about 3 minutes.
Transfer the oat mixture to a large bowl and stir in the honey, cinnamon, and salt.  
~ Spread out onto the prepared baking sheet in an even layer.  
~ Bake, stirring every few minutes, until the granola is light golden brown, about 20 
    minutes.  
Stir in the toasted coconut and dried cherries.  
~ Move the granola to one side of the baking sheet and press gently into a thick slab.  Let
    cool to room temperature.  
~ Break the dried and cooled granola into small clusters, mix in the chopped chocolate, and
    store in an airtight container.

Tips and Tricks

*This requires a good amount of ingredients to fit in the skillet.  Make sure to use a large pan or have a stock pot of sorts handy.
  • The mixture might appear "wet" for quite a while.  The original recipe called for stirring and baking for 15 minutes.  Mine was closer to 20 to 22 minutes.  It will harden as it cools.

  • This keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for a good while.  At nearly two weeks, it still tasted fresh.  I think glass containers help with the freshness factor.

Recipe barely adapted from Annie's Eats