Holy yum granola! I’ve been wanting to make granola for ages. It’s been on my to do list for a long while now. I first became addicted to cacao granola from my lovely Insta friend Jenn Schuetz from The Rogue Baker. She has a delectable recipe on her blog for a nut-free cacao granola which is also grain free. I used to make this quite often. Life has gotten busy and with so many other demands, granola fell off my radar for a while.
Granola comes in a variety of combinations. There are many wonderful granola recipes out on the web. Everyone has a different way of baking and enjoying. Some people like the addition of oats and dried fruits. Others enjoy adding egg whites to their mixture. Egg whites help the oats bind and form clumps to create a chunkier granola.
The beauty of making your own granola is that you can control taste, flavor combinations, sugar and ingredients. There are no rules!
Being a mama of children with food allergies, store bought granola is not an option for us. Many store bought varieties use nuts and cross contamination is high. Plus with so many added sweeteners, it has become more of a dessert than a healthy snack or breakfast option.
I’ve also found that when nuts are missing in granola, you lose a crunch factor. So I wanted to incorporate the feeling of a toasty, nutty flavor but something that was safe for all of us to enjoy. Enter Sarah Britton from the much loved blog My New Roots. She has a chunky chocolate buckwheat granola recipe which people adore. The original recipe includes hazelnuts which I omitted and added pumpkin and sunflower seeds instead. I’ve never tried buckwheat groats but my kids love buckwheat flour so I was very excited to experiment. They were the perfect addition because they added the nutty, crunch factor that I had been missing. My kids loved it too.
According to Sarah’s blog, “Buckwheat is actually not related to wheat, nor is it even a true grain. Buckwheat is the fruit seed of a plant similar to rhubarb and sorrel and a super substitute for people with wheat or gluten sensitivities”. It also makes a nice substitute for those of us with nut allergies. It is also so darn good for you. Buckwheat is high in magnesium and a superfood for improving overall cardiovascular health.
This recipe is very adaptable. I’ve included some additions on the bottom to play with depending upon your preferences. Whole grain rice puffs are a recent favorite discovery and add a wonderful crunch factor to any granola. Here, it reminds me of cocoa krispies! Dried fruit is added for extra sweetness but you can leave out if you are sensitive to sugar.
For a twist and because my cherries were dry, I plumped them up by soaking with sweet aged balsamic vinegar. I drained them before adding into the granola. The balsamic vinegar created just the right amount of tang to the cherries while adding some shine. This granola makes a big batch. Eat half now and freeze the rest to enjoy later ❤️
Cocoa Buckwheat Granola
Free from: Tree Nuts, Peanut, Sesame, Dairy, Soy, Egg ( *See Notes)
Serving Size: Makes about 8 cups
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup raw hulled whole grain buckwheat groats
- 1/2 cup whole grain rice puffs
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil, melted
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
- 2 egg whites, beaten until frothy( optional- see *Notes below)
- 1/4 cup dried cherries
- 1/4 cup dates, chopped Arya or Medjool
- 1 1/2 tbl sweet aged balsamic vinegar( to soak cherries)
Preheat oven to 300 F. Prepare two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine oats, buckwheat, rice puffs, coconut flakes, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt coconut oil. Add maple syrup, vanilla and cocoa powder. Whisk to combine until smooth. Take off heat. Let cool for a minute.
Pour cocoa mixture over dry ingredients. Stir to combine and coat evenly. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk two egg whites until frothy and bubbly. Pour over granola mixture and combine.
Spread mixture on baking sheets, dividing evenly. Press firmly with the back of spatula to ensure that the mixture is compact. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Stir a few times if possible.
While the granola is baking in the oven, mix cherries with balsamic vinegar into a small bowl. Set aside to soak until granola is done baking.
Remove from oven. Let sit without stirring on baking sheets for about five to ten minutes. I place my sheets on top of a wire rack.
Drain cherries in colander. Into a separate large mixing bowl, add granola. Add cherries and dates. Stir to evenly incorporate. Transfer and store in an airtight glass jar.
Granola will last for a few weeks in your pantry-if you do not eat it before then or store in your freezer. Granola freezes well.
- If you are allergic to eggs, you can omit the egg whites. Your granola won’t clump as much but it will still taste delicious. Although I have not tested it, a friend replaced the egg whites with a flax egg. It baked for about 40 minutes with great results.
- The dark color of the granola makes it hard to tell if it is cooked or not, so go by smell or taste. Each oven bakes at different speeds. Do not over bake. It will crisp up a bit as it cools.
- Granola freezes well. Freeze in an upright, freezer safe mason jar to ensure the best flavor.
- If you cannot find rice puffs, increase buckwheat groats to 1 cup.
*Additions: Be creative and have fun. Add the following to make delicious changes to your granola:
- 1/4 chia seeds for extra protein
- fruits such as dried figs, apricots or prunes
- 1/4-1/2 cup cacao nibs
- Other warming spices such as 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom or ginger.