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.