Cocoa-Hazelnut Granola / by Chelsea Zwieg

Due to a mix up and some seriously overzealous Amazon ordering, I have found myself with an entire case of rolled oats that I don't really need. My life is pure tragedy, I know. I've dealt with this in three ways: making granola bars, eating oatmeal for breakfast with pumpkin puree, pistachios and dried cherries mixed in (get. out. it's the greatest thing ever.), and mixing up big batches of granola. 

I knew I wanted to make granola with hazelnuts, because I happened to have a lot of those too, when I ran into a problem. What should I put with the hazelnuts? Surely not hazelnuts and chocolate. I'm creative and inventive and everyone and their mother has had chocolate hazelnut something or other. So I scribbled down all my ideas. Honey hazelnut, maple hazelnut, espresso hazelnut. All of them sounded ok, but then I realized something.

The reason that chocolate and hazelnuts are always together, the reason that every European country I've been to has non-negotiable Nutella on the table at breakfast, the reason that I didn't want to eat anything besides Nutella for breakfast for years after I first tried it as a little 7 year old in Northern Wisconsin is because it is a flavor combination that's impossible to beat. Impossible. And I'm not one to argue with the laws of chocolate and hazelnut.

There seems to be a divide on how people like their granola. Some people like big clusters and some, so I've been told, like little schnibbles (but really, who are you? explain yourself, please.) If you're in the cluster camp like me, I've got a few tricks. The first is the egg white. This binds everything together and keeps it from crumbling as it bakes and gets crispy. The second is to turn the oven off after the granola is crispy but leave the granola in there for a few more hours. I've sometimes left if as long as overnight. This gives, by far, the crunchiest, clustery granola you'll ever have. If you fall into the non-cluster camp, skip the egg white step and stir the granola every 10 minutes or so while it bakes to break up any chunks.

You can mix any nuts or seeds into this that you like. If say, for instance, you have fallen into the Amazon Prime trap and landed yourself with a life time supply of a certain ingredient, mix it in. Not that I know what that's like or anything. 

Cocoa Hazelnut Granola

Makes about 4 cups

A quick note: This granola is not very sweet at all. I prefer it that way. If you like it a little sweeter, you can use sweetened cocoa powder or add 1 tsp. of brown sugar to the oil and maple syrup mixture. As mentioned above, the egg white helps the granola form clusters. If can definitely be skipped for vegan or out of eggs and don't want to go to the store reasons. 

Ingredients 

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. raw cocoa powder
  • 1 egg white

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 325
  • Combine oats, quinoa, hazelnuts and cinnamon in a large bowl
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, stir together coconut oil and maple syrup. Microwave until the coconut oil is melted, about 30 seconds. Whisk in cocoa powder
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until everything is evenly coated
  • In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until light and frothy. Pour into granola and mix until it is evenly distributed 
  • Spread granola evenly onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 30 minutes or until toasty and golden brown (keep in mind that it will continue to crisp after you remove it from the oven)