Chocolate Almond Granola

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Nothing beats homemade granola. I’ve taste tested endless varieties of packaged granola but none can compare to the robust flavor and wholesome goodness that come with the stuff baked in your very own kitchen. My youngest child’s severe allergy to tree nuts and peanuts also makes buying store-bought granola pretty much impossible.

The yummiest granola I ever did devour was made by a good friend who brought me a batch, still warm from her oven. I finished the entire container before she left. I begged her for the recipe and got to it. Here’s my veganized version with the substitution of dark chocolate chips for dried fruit (also delicious). Enjoy it with some chilled almond milk or sprinkled over a bowl of ice cream. My husband even tosses some into his pancake batter for a crunchy surprise.

Everyone needs a trusty granola recipe in their back pocket. Let this be yours, and get creative with it. Once you know the basics, the possibilities for new ingredient combinations are endless!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2-1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup white sesame seeds (un-roasted)
  • 3/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance buttery stick (or other vegan butter)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life brand)

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, coconut, sesame seeds and almonds. Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet, spreading it out into an even, single layer. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring several times.

In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the butter, maple syrup and vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly, until melted and combined.

Once your baking sheet has been removed from the oven, increase the temperature to 350 degrees. Pour the butter mixture over the oats and stir until the oats are thoroughly coated. Return the sheet to the oven for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. It’s especially important to move the mixture from the edges of the sheet into the center and vice versa, to keep the outer edges from burning.

Once your granola has finished baking, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Then toss in the chocolate chips and stir until they’re evenly combined.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.

Happy eating!