Peanut butter and cocoa granola
I think human beings were made to walk. Does anything feel more natural than getting up in the morning, throwing on a pair of hiking boots and finding out how far your feet can take you? I would argue that's pretty tough to beat.
Last weekend a group of us drove down to East Sussex. The weather was amazing for September in the UK - clear blue skies, not a drop of rain and warm enough that we didn't need the sweaters we had packed. Our plan was to take a long hike on the coastal path starting in the small town of Seaford. From there we made our way up and down along the edge of the impressive undulating chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters which span the distance between Cuckmere Haven and Birling Gap. In Birling Gap we paused to rest our legs and refuel (can you guess what we snacked on?) before making our way to beautiful Beachy Head with its imposing heights and distinctive white and red lighthouse. About four and a half hours and twenty-three kilometres later we ended our journey along the coast in Eastbourne.
For me, the highlight of the walk was when we took in our first sight of the Seven Sisters. From left to right you can see each of them in the photograph below: Haven Brow (the tallest of the sisters), Short Bottom, Short Brow, Limekiln Bottom, Rough Brow, Rough Bottom, and finally Brass Point. I think I always liked the idea of the Seven Sisters because my mom is one of seven girls!
For this trip I made some special granola because I knew it was going to be a big hike and we'd need some energy for those hills. This granola is packed with whole almonds, walnut halves and large flake coconut, all enveloped in a chocolate-y peanut butter coating. I added in some cocoa nibs for extra crunch and some tangy dried golden berries to balance the sweetness of the cocoa mixture. I wanted a chunky granola since I knew we'd be eating it en route, so I skipped out on chopping any of the ingredients and didn't toss it while it was baking. It got some great reviews from my walking buddies - I hope you like it too!
Peanut butter and cocoa granola
This granola is a perfect hiking snack. It's packed with protein from the nuts and peanut butter and fibre from the oats. It gets its sweetness from the pure maple syrup and cocoa mixture. The cocoa nibs add an extra chocolate-y crunch while the dried golden berries add some tartness. It can be enjoyed on its own, with almond milk as cereal or as a topping for yogurt with fruit.
- 3 cups oats (gluten free if needed)
- 1 cup whole almonds
- 1 cup walnut halves
- 1 cup large flake coconut
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 large pinch fine Himalayan rose pink crystal salt
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 2 heaping tablespoons natural peanut butter
- 2 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup cocoa nibs
- 1/4 cup dried golden berries (also called cape gooseberries)
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Prepare a large rimmed baking tray with parchment paper or a reusable Silpat mat and set aside.
Meanwhile, combine the oats, almonds, walnuts, coconut, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl. Toss to combine. Add the coconut oil to a small saucepan, and gently warm over low heat until it becomes liquid. Whisk in the peanut butter, cocoa powder, maple syrup, and vanilla extract until smooth and combined. Pour the coconut oil mixture over the dry oat mixture, and toss until the dry ingredients are evenly coated. Transfer the granola to the prepared baking tray and spread evenly.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the granola is deeply golden. Do not toss the granola during baking - this will make for a nice and chunky granola. When the granola is ready, remove the baking tray from the oven and sprinkle over the cocoa nibs and golden berries. Allow to cool completely before transferring to an airtight storage container. The granola will keep for a couple weeks at room temperature (if it lasts that long!)
Serves a crowd as a snack or breakfast.