After our homemade maple syrup granola for breakfast, here's another healthy granola for serious chocolate fans without any added sugar. Make way for this chocolate granola with coconut, cranberries, toasted brazil nuts, seeds - all wrapped in maple syrup with melted clusters of dark chocolate.
Healthy Chocolate Granola - No Added Sugar
This started out as a basis of a recipe I saw in a French magazine years ago. However, it was unnecessarily overloaded with sugar. You may know I have a sweet tooth - but not THAT sweet. Too much sugar can totally kill a dessert or a macaron filling overloaded with it.
Extra sugar is unnecessary and unhealthy too. For breakfast, we prefer that sugar is kept to the minimum. There's NO added sugar in this.
When it comes to granola - and baking from scratch - making homemade means you can control the sugar content. Relying purely on the natural sugars in this recipe via healthy, dried fruits and maple syrup, there is NO ADDED SUGAR. Add the dried fruits after baking so that the juicy fruit retains all of its healthy nutrients.
Gluten Free Homemade Granola
If you follow a strict diet or you are Celiac, please do ensure that your oats are specifically labelled as being gluten free.
Is Coconut Oil Good or Bad?
Coconut oil is basically a saturated fat oil which is not good for your health. It's so saturated in fat, that's why it hardens. So please use with moderation - that's the important advice given by professional nutritionists in France. Just imagine that on your arteries over time!
If you do use coconut oil, I've seen people say to ensure you check the label when buying that it's both cold-pressed and unrefined. Basically it's the same - it's a saturated fat so just keep it in moderation and do not use it on a regular basis.
That's why I sometimes use it in this recipe but alternate with healthier sunflower or other neutral oil such as grapeseed oil.
When is Granola NOT Vegan?
Making this for somebody following a strictly vegan diet and worried about granola being 100% vegan?
Granola is not vegan when honey or milk chocolate is used - it's as simple as that. Also ensure that there are no milk additives in your cocoa powder.
Chocolate Coconut Granola for Vegans
If you are following a strict vegan diet, use vegan dark chocolate for the recipe. Good quality chocolate chips are good, as are dark chocolate chips. If you're not following a vegan diet, however, you may prefer to use milk chocolate which will work well.
Best Tips for Baking Chocolate Granola
How do you bake a good quality chocolate granola?
The the best tip I have for you is adding the chocolate after baking. Bake it together in the oven and the chocolate will be burnt - who wants that? Burnt chocolate is incredibly bitter and what a waste of your best chocolate! Instead, melt it gently and give it the respect it deserves.
Either wait until your granola cools down completely and add chocolate chips or, my favourite method, as soon as it comes out of the oven, scatter over your chocolate chips, drops or grated dark chocolate and leave it to melt into the hot cereal. As soon as the chocolate melts, stir the granola around again to mix it well together. Leave to cool (even quicker if 15 minutes in the fridge) and voilà - a gourmet chocolate coconut granola is ready for you to fill a cookie jar!
Healthy Nuts & Seeds
Brazil nuts are particularly good for selenium (great for memory). Just 2 brazil nuts a day will have you covered - just don't forget to buy them! Again, brazil nuts are good as long as they are consumed with moderation.
Sesame seeds (poppy seeds or flaxseeds) are good natural sources of calcium. All this makes for a healthy thyroid too - and, if you're like me without a thyroid, it's a great way to keep a daily healthy supply of essential nuts and seeds.
Healthy Homemade Granola Variations
To vary the flavours, try with a mixture of almonds like in this plain Maple Granola without the chocolate or with a hint of warm spices such as cinnamon, gingerbread spice or pumpkin spice for a spiced festive granola version for the holidays. Don't forget to serve with the freshest of berries too, like raspberries or blueberries.
Looking for more healthy homemade breakfast cereals?
Try my friend, Christina's simple Alpen copycat recipe with half the sugar of the regular popular muesli.
Chocolate Granola Recipe with Coconut
- 300 g (10.5oz/3 cups) jumbo oats (if on a strict GF diet, ensure they're labelled gluten free)
- 100 g (3.5oz/1 cup) brazil nuts roughly chopped (or mix with walnuts)
- 50 g (2oz/1/2 cup) sunflower seeds
- 25 g (2 tbsp) sesame seeds (or flax seeds)
- 50 g (2oz) dessicated coconut
- pinch salt (fleur de sel)
- 3 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Van Houten)
- 75 g (3 tbsp) sunflower oil or other neutral oil like grapeseed
- 75 g (5 tbsp) maple syrup
To add after baking:
- 100 g (3.5oz/3/4 cup) dried plump cranberries (or golden raisins)
- 125 g (4.5oz) dark chocolate chips, drops, or grated chocolate (Vegan if necessary)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan)/350°F (Gas 4).
- In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients except the chocolate and dried fruits. Mix well until completely coated in the oil and maple syrup.
- Cover a baking tray with baking paper (or a silicone mat). Spread out the oat mixture evenly. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, turn over the mixture and return to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes.
- As soon as out of the oven, immediately sprinkle over the chocolate chips/drops/grated chocolate and the dried fruits over the hot granola (see note*). After about 5 minutes, turn over the granola to mix in the melted chocolate and dried fruits. Leave to cool for the chocolate to set either on the counter at room temperature or for 15 minutes in the fridge. Transfer to a sealed container when cool.
Otherwise, if it doesn't need to be vegan, enjoy with yoghurt, milk or Skyr (we're seeing this appearing from Iceland in French supermarkets) See the short Video Demonstration here.