There are a few things in life that I find truly decadent. Things that I may be able to live without, but would hope that I never have to. At the top of my list are chocolate and coffee. These are my two vices, and they just so happen to be great companions. I first fell in love with coffee as a teenager. My high school was in a suburban area, right next to shopping malls, chain restaurants, and most importantly, Starbucks. Shortly after I got my car on my sixteenth birthday I began making almost daily stops on the way to school to get my drink of choice, the Café Mocha. It sounded so sophisticated, and it tasted like the grown up version of hot chocolate. By university I had moved on to black coffee with a little sugar, still my drink of choice. Although I dropped chocolate from my morning beverage does not mean I don’t still love the two combined.
When I came up with this granola recipe a few weeks ago it was really out of necessity. I was out of maple syrup and the apples that I use to make my apple cinnamon granola, our weekly staple. I had some agave on hand and some organic cocoa powder. The coffee was a last minute throw in, but now I could not imagine making this granola without it. The taste of the granola instantly takes me back to high school, waking up extra early to grab a Café Mocha on the way to school, and the smell of it baking makes my entire house smell like a coffee shop. I usually like to eat the granola on its own, but it is also delicious sprinkled on top of a bowl of yogurt, or drowned in milk.
Decadent Mocha Granola
- 4 cups rolled oats
- 2 cups raw almonds
- ½ cup raw agave syrup
- ¼ cup sunflower oil
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (I used one Starbucks Via Italian Roast packet)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons flax seeds
- ½ cup dark (bittersweet) chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 275° and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, stir together the oats and almonds. In a small bowl, whisk together the agave, oil, cocoa powder, and espresso. Pour the agave mixture over the oats and almonds and stir until the oats and almonds are coated. Spread the mix out evenly on the baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove the granola from the oven and let cool completely before sprinkling with the flax seeds and chocolate chips, and storing in an airtight container.