In this delicious Chocolate Granola you get the natural flavour and goodness of raw cacao powder, nuts, seeds and coconut oil; which you won't find in the chocolate flavoured cereal boxes in the supermarket. Serve with coconut yoghurt and berries, nut milk or layer in a breakfast or dessert parfait.
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Preheat oven to 150c (fan-forced). Line 2 large oven trays with baking paper.
Add the almonds, cashews, pecans and the pumpkin, sunflower and chia seeds to a food processor or similar. Process for 5 - 7 seconds to roughly chop. (You might like to leave some nuts whole for some extra crunch).
Transfer the nuts and seeds to a large bowl. Add the shredded coconut, cacao powder, cinnamon and salt, mix well.
Mix the melted coconut oil and maple syrup together and pour over the granola mixture. Mix well to coat and moisten all the mixture.
Spoon onto the prepared trays and spread out evenly. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until firm to the touch (turn once during cooking). Allow the granola and trays to come to room temperature, then place the trays in the fridge or freezer. Once the mixture is cold and crisp, break into clusters and store in an airtight glass container in the fridge. Granola stays fresh for up to 4 - 5 weeks in the fridge.
Serve with coconut yoghurt and berries or layered in a breakfast or dessert parfait. Also delicious as a chocolate snack.
Almonds have 240mg of calcium in 50gms, as much as is found in 200ml of milk. Nuts are a great protein snack. Eat them raw or activated and it's best to avoid store bought roasted nuts that have been cooked in canola, sunflower or similar vegetable oils. When ground finely almonds make a wonderful nut meal/flour for grain-free baking.
Cashews work well in a paleo lifestyle, as they are so versatile. They can be used to make dairy free milk, cashew butter, cashew cream or sour cream, dips and many more. Where possible, it is best to soak nuts before using to assist with digestion. Eat them raw but in moderation as they are quite high in omega 6. Stay away from store bought roasted nuts that have been cooked in canola, sunflower or similar vegetable oils.
Pecans are a rich source of dietary fibre, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and thiamin. Nuts are a great protein snack. Eat them raw or activated and it's best to avoid store bought roasted nuts that have been cooked in canola, sunflower or similar vegetable oils.
Pumpkin seeds or pepitas are an amazing health food, a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains nearly half of the recommended daily amount of magnesium. They are small packages full of nutrition (plant based omega 3 fats, zinc, anti-inflammatory benefits). Sprinkle over salads, add to snack bars, granola, smoothies and they can also be ground down to add to grain free baked goods.
Sunflower seeds have a mild nutty flavour. An excellent snack as they are high in protein, delicious added to smoothies and grain free baking. Sunflower seeds can be finely ground to replace almond and other nut meals/flours in baked goods, substitute ratio 1:1. They are high in Vitamin E. Vitamin E travels throughout the body neutralizing free radicals. Sunflower seeds are also a good source of magnesium, which can help calm your nerves, muscles and blood vessels.
These little seeds absorb 9-12 times their weight in water and are excellent to add as a thickener to sauces and fruit spreads. They can also be used as an egg replacement in muffins and cakes (1 tablespoon chia seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of water). Chia seeds can also be used to make delicious chia puddings for breakfast or desserts. There are many health benefits of chia. It is the richest plant source of Omega 3 fats, dietary fibre and protein. Chia seeds are also packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, amino acids and fatty acids.
Shredded coconut has longer and thicker strands than desiccated coconut and not to be confused with coconut flakes. Use organic coconut, which does not contain preservatives (sulphur).
Raw cacao powder and cocoa are made from the same source but are so different. Cacao powder is raw, unsweetened and in it's natural state, it has a stronger flavour and you would use less than cocoa powder. It is so good for you; high in dietary fibre, iron and is a good source of magnesium and antioxidants. Cocoa has been heated and processed, the high heat when processing kills all the minerals and vitamins.
I am sure you will notice as you read my recipes that cinnamon appears quite frequently. It lends itself to savoury and sweet dishes. I have used ground cinnamon in my recipes if not stated otherwise. The best cinnamon to use is Ceylon (Verum). It has huge health benefits in regulating blood sugar levels. Cinnamon has antifungal properties and candida (yeast overgrowth) cannot live in a cinnamon environment. Added to food it inhibits bacterial growth, making it a natural food preservative and these are just a few of the benefits.
Raw pink Himalayan salt crystals is unlike common table salt which can be a highly refined industrial byproduct, otherwise know as sodium chloride. Himalayan salt is completely pure and may naturally balance the body's alkaline/acidity and regulate water content. In addition Himalayan salt helps in the absorption of nutrients from food and contains many trace minerals for healthy cell structure. I purchase fine pink Himalayan crystal salt so I can use it in my shaker and for cooking.
Coconut oil is one of the most nutritious fats to cook and bake with. Use organic extra-virgin coconut oil which is unrefined and unbleached from non GMO coconuts. Coconut oil has a high smoking point and it is slow to oxidize due to its high saturated fat content, thus, resistant to going rancid. Some studies suggest coconut oil helps with digestion, including irritable bowel, tummy bugs, candida and parasites due to this oil containing short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which is a healthy form of saturated fat.
Maple syrup is an earthy, sweet tasting amber liquid that is produced by boiling down the sap of maple trees. Use organic 100% maple syrup which is a natural food sweetener, not a flavoured maple syrup. Pure maple syrup contains a decent amount of some minerals, especially manganese and zinc, some traces of potassium and calcium but it does contain a whole bunch of sugar. I try to reduced the amount of sweetness in each recipe to the lowest possible without compromising taste. Feel free to adjust to your liking. I use maple syrup in place of raw honey when I don't want the strong honey flavour coming through in a recipe. I have paleo cookies and desserts in my cookbook made from whole food ingredients with natural sugars but please don’t overindulge. Use as a treat only for special occasions.