Thursday, September 8, 2011

Groovy Granola

Song pairing:
This granola makes me happy and this is quite possibly the happiest song I know.  Listening to it makes me want to skip - and it's been a good long time since I've passed the acceptable skipping age!  Make this granola, eat it, and listen to this song and everyone will wonder what you've been up to this morning ~

I'll never be able to look at a chocolate bar the same way again.

A few years ago my good friend, Lara, told me I should check out this blog she'd found called Orangette.  By this time I knew I was going to be going to culinary school and my friends were big supporters of this new adventure of mine.  They passed along any and all sorts of information they thought I'd find interesting.  Well, I followed Lara's advice  and clicked on over to the blog and made a new "friend" immediately - or at least that's how it felt.  Orangette is written like it's just you and her at the table, having a friendly chit-chat.  I started browsing her recipes right away and landed on one for granola that I've made pretty much constantly ever since.  Each time I make it I put my own spin on it.  It's become like a game to see just what I can come up with next.

Back to the chocolate bar.

You see, this granola calls for chocolate.  Chocolate!  Not that chocolate for breakfast is a novelty by any means.  You can find nuggets of chocolate in all sorts of cereals and bars.  It's just that when you get the chance to choose it for yourself it gives you this feeling of power - like being able to choose the leading man in your favorite romance novel.  If you're feeling quirky, you can choose a Seth Green or Jason Bateman equivalent, such as a Willy Wonka bar.  You say that that should be Johnny Depp?  Not in my book.  He'd be considered the deep, dark chocolate - maybe the one with the Pop Rocks.  But, this is the beauty of making it yourself.  You can use chocolate as simple as chocolate chips or as extravagant as any of these guys ~

In other words, there are no boundaries.  It's all your preference.  Is it a coincidence that most chocolate bars weigh in at about three ounces - the exact amount you need?  I think not!  And you end up with such an envious collection of chocolate to boot!

It is impossible for me to walk by a display of chocolate bars and not stop to ponder the possibilities.  People who wander by will see me clutching the bar in my hand, staring towards it but not particularly at it.  My mind is off culling the great pantry in the sky to see if I can come up with something special to complement this parcel of hope and goodness.  "Do you want to be tasting spicy chilies at breakfast?" I ask myself.  "Why, yes, that could be rather exhilarating!" I answer.  The questioning continues about whether I'll want fresh or dried fruit with this bar and what kind of syrup or flavoring can I add to the liquid to enhance what's already in there.  And it doesn't just stop with bars  . . .

Today I decided to use some chocolate covered candied ginger I found at Trader Joe's.  

I was a little shy of the amount I needed so I added some candied ginger I had on hand and a handful of mini chocolate chips.

The syrup ingredients can also be altered to suit whichever chocolate bar you've chosen.  I was so sad to find that I had run out of ginger syrup, but added some fresh grated ginger in with the oil and honey and called it good.  You can use extracts and syrups of all flavors.

I found a chocolate bar with lavender once and used a lavender flavoring in the syrup.  The nuance was subtle but you couldn't deny it's presence.  I fancied myself in England and resisted the urge to address everyone as "Love" every morning while the batch lasted!

Whatever you choose, when everything gets tossed together for the final 'hurrah,' you have created joy and happiness.  Since the coconut curls are so much bigger than the usual shredded coconut, they announce their toasty goodness with each bite.  You've got lots of crunch going on with the nuts and oats but it's not that "scratch-the-roof-of-your mouth" kind of crunch that you get with some granola.  It yields perfectly to the bite.  And then you hit a piece of chocolate and it's all velvety seduction.  And you are hooked.  And you must have more.  And you find yourself with a fascination of chocolate bars with additives like bacon, Pop Rocks, and bread crumbs!

Groovy Granola 
adapted from French Chocolate Granola
Printable Recipe Card

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup coconut flakes (please try not to use the sweetened shredded coconut if you can avoid it)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans, almonds, walnuts - your preference)
pinch of kosher salt
2 T. vegetable oil
4 T. honey (or other flavored syrup)
1 T. extract (vanilla, almond, coconut - endless possibilities)
3 oz. chocolate, chopped
dried fruits or other add-ins

1.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.   Line a sheet tray with parchment paper and set aside.
3.   Using a large bowl with plenty of room to toss ingredients together, combine the oats, coconut flakes, chopped nuts, and salt.  Mix well and set aside.
4.   In a pan on the stovetop, whisk together the oil, honey, and extract.  Heat over medium heat just until it starts to simmer and is well combined.  Remove from heat and pour over oat mixture in the bowl and toss to coat well.  Spread the mixture evenly over the sheet tray.
5.   Bake for 7 minutes and give it a stir, bringing the parts from the outer edge of the pan to the center.  Bake another 4 - 5 minutes and stir again.  Bake another 2 - 3 minutes and you're done!  It should be a beautiful golden color.  
6.  Stir and let cool.
7.  Chop the chocolate into small pieces and, when the oat mixture is completely cool, toss it in along with any other ingredients you plan on adding.  Store in an airtight container.  I don't refrigerate mine because it's usually gone fairly quickly.  If you like, though, you can store it in the refrigerator.


  1. Slow down you move too fast. You've got to make the morning last . . .
    Perfect song choice. And a perfect and creative name for your blog. I am lovin' it. So honored to be mentioned in the premier post. And the granola is delicious!

  2. I love it! I might have to take a detour to Trader Joe's while in Seattle on Saturday! I definitely want that chocolate covered ginger in my granola!

  3. When you eat this you become "Groovy Granola Girl". I have just enough of this TJ ginger to make a batch. Thanks for the inspiration!