Thursday, November 14, 2013

Chocolate Cherry Granola


We had our first snowfall of the season last week! We woke up to the hush of snow-blanketed ground and it was just beautiful. Of course, it also meant the chickens’ water was frozen so I needed to get one of those warmers to put their water container on, and Bob hung a heating light in their coop so they can be toasty warm for the winter months. We’re still adapting to living full-time in the valley!


One of our dogs, Boots, found the warmest spot in the cabin to spend her day. I think she’ll be spending a lot of time there!


The snow was a reminder that winter is nearing and, since we could easily be snowed in for days at a time, I’ve been filling our shed shelves with staples such as beans and grains for those snowy days we can’t make it out.


It’s also time to start thinking about holiday gifts, especially since Hanukkah begins the night before Thanksgiving this year. I like to give (and receive!) homemade gifts, and a jar of granola tied with a festive ribbon is always welcome. Granola is also something that can be made with those pantry staples, so I plan to keep a jar ready on the counter all season.


I’ve made many batches of my Blueberry Maple Granola, but this last time decided to mix it up a bit and made a chocolate version. I stirred together honey, coconut oil, vanilla, cocoa powder and a big pinch of flaky sea salt before mixing in oats, cacao nibs and chia seeds. After baking, a handful of dried cherries finished it off.


A scoop of chocolate granola is hard to resist for breakfast and I don’t expect it to last long. We’re expecting more snow this weekend so I may be making another batch soon!

Chocolate Cherry Granola
Makes about 4 cups

1/3 cup raw honey
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup cacao nibs
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup dried cherries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the honey, coconut oil, vanilla and cocoa powder until smooth. Add the chia seeds, cacao nibs and salt and mix in. Gently fold in the oats until just coated. Spread the mixture out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake the granola for 9 minutes, stir the edges to keep from burning bake for another 8-9 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Stir in the dried cherries and store the granola in a sealed container at room temperature.

18 comments:

  1. Hannah - you are a heartier soul than I am! It's sunny and in the low 60s here and I've already got the turtlenecks out and the remote-controlled gas fireplace burning (yes - that's right - my kind of fireplace!). I love this version of granola! If you can get out to the post office and mail me your granola, I will return the favor as well! I want to see the face of that cute dog next time - so adorable!

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    1. We ended up only getting a few flurries this weekend and they've melted - I was a little disappointed but I know a lot more is on the way. So many preparations! Now I have studded tires and sandbags in my car...it's all reminding me of growing up in Massachusetts. Boots really is a sweetie and is the ultimate lap dog. And yes to a granola swap! I hope you're enjoying some yummy pancakes on this Sunday morning. :)

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  2. I think it's time we officially start calling YOU The Pioneer Woman! Love the woodstove; takes me back many years to when we used one in our home 24/7 to supplement the pricey electricity in NC! The stove, the shed, the chickens...yes, PW you are my dear!

    Great sounding granola; love these flavors together and there is nothing better in the morning, snow or not, than homemade granola.

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    1. Thank you, Barb! You made me smile. I have to say, I'm very happy here. I think rural living agrees with us! Lots of quiet, and the people we're meeting make it truly meaningful. Have you had any snow yet? I hope you're staying cozy and warm.

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  3. Oh Hannah the only snow I'll see this winter is if I drive from the coast to the mountains! It's still very much fall here. The afternoon wind blows leaves down from the trees to cover the streets and yards in my neighborhood. Even without a snowflake in sight the Chocolate Cherry Granola would be an exceptional way to begin a crisp autumn morning!

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    1. Thank you, Deb! Your fall days sound lovely. Our crunching leaves have given way to ice and snow here. Time for some cozy mornings! I hope you're enjoying this holiday season!

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  4. I love the flavors in this granola Hannah - especially the nibs! I have been meaning to make a big batch myself and you just inspired me to get on it! Happy Weekend xoxox

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    1. Aren't cacao nibs marvelous? So good to nibble on when a chocolate craving hits. Hope you're enjoying these last nights of Hanukkah!

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  5. So jealous you've seen snow already! I really hope we get some around here this year! We've got friends coming for Christmas and the lady of the house is a granola (and chocolate) fiend. I'm going to have to have some of this ready for her when the come!

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    1. I hope Seattle has a white Christmas! Seems like it's cold enough to snow right now! We have frigid temperatures here and lots of ice and snow - definitely a winter wonderland. A jar of granola is definitely good to keep on hand for house guests. I hope you enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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  6. What a gorgeous gift that granola is, cherry chocolate, fantastic combination. I love the photo of your sweet little dog in front of the fire, That would make a great holiday card. Happy Thanksgiving Hannah to you and your family!

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    1. Thank you, Suzanne! Boots is indeed a sweet pup and she's spending lots of time in front of the stove these days - it's beyond freezing outside. I hope you enjoyed a very happy Thanksgiving and are having a fun holiday season.

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  7. Homemade food gifts are the best! Who needs more stuff? But we can always use more chow. ;-) Your life sounds wonderful. I want to curl up in front of that fire too!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, John! We're spending lots of time by the stove now that the valley has been transformed into a winter wonderland. And I agree, homemade food gifts are just wonderful - so special and delicious. I hope you're enjoying the holiday season!

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  8. My gosh, Hannah, snow already. I feel chilly just thinking about it, but while you're stocking up on essential supplies in case you get snowed in, my thoughts are more closely aligned to stocking up on sunscreen!

    Hannah your granola looks amazing. I always make my own, but for some reason have never thought of giving it as gifts. That's a great idea, and just solved a few Xmas presents. I can't wait to try your granola recipe - chocolate cherry sounds positively divine.

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    1. Thank you so much, Sue! Lots of snow and ice here now, so we're bundled up and having fun with the start of winter sports. And, of course, snuggled up by the stove! I hope you're enjoying the holiday season and that you enjoy the granola. :)

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  9. Oooh, I love this recipe! You sure know how to give gifts :) We haven't had any snow just yet. I'm getting anxious! That's neat that you're putting all kinds of basic foods up in case you get super snowed in. I think we'll have a milder winter right on the coast here, but only time will tell!

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    1. Thanks so much, Brianne! We have lots of snow and ice now and really frigid temperatures (it'll be dropping below zero for a few nights this week). Luckily my new studded tires are doing to the trick to get me up and down our driveway! I imagine the coast will not have as intense of a winter as inland, but you're right - time will tell. I hope you're having a fun holiday season so far!

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