This Double Chocolate Cherry Granola is any chocolate lover's dream - all packaged up in a naturally-sweetened, fiber-filled package of crunchy goodness!
For me, February is the month of chocolate cravings. Is it because I see ALL the chocolate Valentine's treats every time I go into the store? Or maybe because chocolate just sounds extra cozy and good during the cold later winter months? I really can't tell you why - just that pretty much anything chocolate sounds good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! And this double chocolate cherry granola is the perfect way to get some chocolate in at breakfast.
It's not too sweet, and you get the antioxidant benefits of the chocolate in two forms: natural unsweetened cocoa powder and dark chocolate chips. Speaking of antioxidants, I threw in some dried tart cherries into the mix for an extra nutrition boost. The tart flavor of the cherries is so delish with the sweetness of the maple syrup and salty pecans. My favorite way to eat this granola is with a splash of milk on top because the granola turns the milk chocolate and it ends up being the tastiest milk ever! The recipe makes quite a bit, so it's perfect to make and freeze in portions for later or package up in Mason jars to surprise your friends, neighbors, or coworkers. Let's make some!
Ingredients for double chocolate granola
- Oats - old-fashioned rolled oats are best for making granola (not quick-cooking). Buy certified gluten-free rolled oats if that is a concern for you.
- Unsweetened coconut flakes - the unsweetened kind has no sugar added but still lends a subtle natural sweetness that I love. Feel free to leave it out if you are allergic.
- Pecans - these are my favorite nut, and I love the way their flavor pairs with dried cherries and chocolate. If you need to make nut-free granola, I'd suggest replacing the nuts with sunflower seeds.
- Natural cocoa powder - just unsweetened natural cocoa powder will do!
- Coarse Kosher salt - this is my favorite salt to use for seasoning any type of dry mix.
- Coconut oil - substitute with any neutral-flavored oil if needed; like canola, avocado, sunflower, or walnut oil.
- Maple syrup - this provides the subtle sweetness in the granola and pairs beautifully with the chocolate and pecans.
- Vanilla - a wonderful flavor enhancer for chocolate.
- Instant espresso powder - another flavor enhancer; you only need a little!
- Dark chocolate chips - my favorite dark chocolate chips are the ones from Nestle; they are free from soy lecithin if you have someone allergic to soy!
- Dried tart cherries - substitute with dried cranberries if needed.
- Turbinado sugar - a little bit sprinkled on at the end gives a lovely crunch to the outside of the slightly melted chocolate. Omit if needed!
Tips for making homemade granola
- Cook at a low temperature and stir in intervals - granola tends to burn easily, so I like to stir it every ten minutes to make sure all of the ingredients are evenly toasted. It will take anywhere from 20-30 minutes to toast completely, so watch it carefully!
- Realize that it will crisp as it cools - the granola may seem soft when you take it out of the oven after 20-30 minutes, but it will crisp up once it is completely cool.
- Store it once cool - you want to wait a couple of hours after making the granola before you put it away for storage. Any moisture that gets trapped in the container because of heat will cause the granola to spoil faster and be soft. I like to store mine in the fridge in an airtight container or Mason jar. You can also freeze it for later!
Possible recipe variations
This Double Chocolate Cherry Granola is a variation on my Cherry Pecan Granola. Here are some other ingredients substitutions that would be lovely:
- Use honey instead of maple syrup for the sweetener.
- Omit the cocoa powder for a non-chocolate variety.
- Stir in 1/2 cup of powdered peanut butter to the oil and sweetener to make it peanut butter flavored.
- Change up the dried fruit - banana chips, dried blueberries, or dried cranberries would all be delicious!
- Swap out the pecans for a different nut or use sunflower seeds for a nut-free version.
Are you ready to make this Double Chocolate Cherry Granola? I’m so excited for you to try this recipe. Once you get the chance to make it, please let me know how it turns out for you! Leave a comment and rate the recipe below. This will help me with the creation of future recipes! I’d also love to feature your creation in my monthly newsletter, so you can upload a photo to Instagram or Twitter with the tag @sweetcayenne5 to be featured!
Double Chocolate Cherry Granola
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- ¼ teaspoon coarse Kosher salt, plus ¼ tsp more for finishing
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (certified gluten-free if needed)
- ⅓ cup natural cocoa powder
- ⅔ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (substitute with sunflower seeds for nut allergies)
- ½ cup dried cherries
- ⅔ cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (like Sugar in the Raw)
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a large jelly roll pan or rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, maple syrup, vanilla, espresso powder, and salt.
- Combine the oats, cocoa powder, coconut, and pecans in a large bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and toss to combine until the dry ingredients are evenly coated.
- Place the pan of granola in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, stopping to remove from the oven and stir every 10 minutes. Be sure to bring the granola mixture from the outside of the pan to the inside so that all of the mixture evenly browns.
- Remove from heat and turn the oven off. Add the cherries and chocolate chips to the pan. Return to the warm oven and let the pan sit for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle a bit of sea salt and coarse turbinado sugar on top.
- Set the pan of granola out to cool for 30 minutes. Once completely cool, store the granola in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 1 month.
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