Chocolate Goji Berry Crunch Granola
Okay, I admit it. I broke down and bought a couple of different superfoods. After watching Food Matters, I became curious about why people were running out and buying foods like goji berries and raw maca. I didn’t know the first thing about superfoods, aside from the idea that they were supposed to be very good for you.
Not too long after watching that documentary, I gave in and bought both goji berries and cacao nibs. Almost immediately, I found myself adding the cacao nibs to different foods I normally made like oatmeal and in trail mix.
The goji berries, however, were a different story. At first bite, I didn’t really like them. They were fairly tough on the outside and had a fruit flavor that I didn’t like the taste of (which is odd because I’d loved every fruit I’d tasted prior to this experience assuming goji berries are a fruit?). I knew they were supposed to be good for me and I’d paid a pretty penny for a small bag of the pretty, coral-colored berries, so I tried to eat a small handful with other dried fruits I enjoyed, like apricots. I tried hard to like them, but efforts were to no avail. They sat in my cabinet for a couple of months with little or no use.
One day, I was talking with the guy who lives upstairs from me and he was telling me how he and his girlfriend were on this superfood kick. They’d bought all different powders, berries, and seeds in hopes of adding them to their diet. I admitted how I’d tried goji berries, but wasn’t too fond of them. He then told me how he loved eating them with chocolate.
Ding, ding, ding. It was like the light bulb went off in my head. I’d never tried the berries with chocolate. What a genius idea. Almost immediately, the idea for chocolate goji berry granola was born. The combination was a success and now I have a new use for all those unused berries I bought. Whether eating them with granola defeats the purpose or not, is not something I’d like to consider. It was too delicious to contemplate the idea of how healthy it was.
Chocolate Goji Berry Crunch Granola:
*Yields about 3-4 cups of granola
1 1/3 cup of rolled oats (I used GF rolled oats)
1/3 cup of dried, unsweetened coconut flakes
2/3 cup of chopped nuts (I used a mix of walnuts and cashews – both tasted delicious with the chocolate flavor of the granola)
2 tbsp of cocoa powder
1/3 cup of raisins
1 tbsp virgin coconut oil, melted
3 tbsp of light agave nectar
(possible substitution: maple syrup)
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1/3 cup of goji berries
1 tbsp of cacao nibs (*optional)
1- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then add your rolled oats, coconut, chopped nuts, raisins, and cocoa powder to a mixing bowl. Mix the dry ingredients together.
2- Melt the virgin coconut oil either in a small pan or in the microwave. Add the Coconut oil, agave nectar, and vanilla into a glass measuring cup. Stir once before pouring over the rolled oat mixture. Mix the oats with the wet ingredients, making sure all of the oats are coated.
3- Spread a thin layer of granola onto the parchment paper. Bake for 12-15 minutes. The granola is finished when the raisins on the edges of the pan begin to turn puff up. After the granola has cooled for about five minutes add the goji berries and cacao nibs (I thought cooking them would make them lose their many nutritional benefits such as the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that they provide). Let the granola cool before using it (it will become crisper as it cools, it will still be slightly soft when it comes out of the oven).
*Store in an airtight container. Other possible additions: substitute goji berries for dried cherries, dried cranberries, dried apricots, or banana chips