Chocolate Granola

I was an odd American kid as I really never enjoyed cereal. Fortunately, my Mom was also not a fan of cereal and she loved making granola from scratch while I was growing up- lucky me!
Now that I am a big kid, I find cereal still does not satisfy me, but it is one of my husbands favorites- ugh. The perfect compromise- we both adore Homemade Granola!

The only challenge of granola is it needs a little baby-sitting while it is drying out in the oven. Combining the ingredients is about as simple as pouring milk over cereal, tossing, then bake and baby-sit-- stirring every 20-30 minutes.

The variations are where the fun comes in. A handful of chocolate chips and cocoa powder makes this type one of my favorites. And really who would turn down chocolate for breakfast! It is antioxidant fun in a bowl. Placing the chocolate chips in towards the end means they will melt and clump the oats, but not overcook and burn.

¼ cup honey or maple syrup
1/2 cup oil (safflower, coconut or even flax oil)
¼ cup all-natural 100% juice, apple
4 cups rolled oats, gluten-free* (not quick or instant)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins (or dried cranberries)
1/2 cup sliced almonds (or other nuts)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 300. Combine the wet ingredients, the honey, oil, and juice and toss on the rolled oats. Sprinkle on the salt, cocoa powder, and cinnamon. Toss well to combine and dump into a large 9x13 pan. Reduce the oven to 225. Place in the oven and toss the granola every 20-30 minutes until lightly toasted. Typically it takes about 2 hours or more. In the final 30 minutes, sprinkle on the chocolate chips. Toss lightly cool in the same pan before transferring to a storage container.

Store in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks. It will last longer if stored in the refrigerator.

*FYI: I hear conflicting news about Rolled Oats and their Gluten Free status. Most of my GF buddies say they are gluten free, but I have noticed some oats are specifically "gluten-free". If you are nervous they would be worth seeking out, although I noticed they are a bit more expensive.

Take your Granola to-go!
When we travel or rush out the door for work we take these little cutie snack baggies with us:

Let me know about your Granola Variations...
Here are a handful of other tasty Granola Blog entries worth checking out:
Cherry-Berry Granola
Hippie Granola: Melinda's Homemade Granola