Sunday, February 27, 2011

Vanilla Scented Nut and Cacao Nib Granola

I had been hearing about cacao nibs for a long time, and always had wanted to try them.  It wasn't until recently however when the jar of deep chocolate brown bits in the bulk section was calling to me.  I opened the jar and the most wonderful dark chocolate aroma emerged.   I decided to buy some thinking if nothing else they would be good in brownies since I had seen a recipe using them in that way.  I didn't quite know what to expect as far as their taste went, considering they weren't sweetened.  I thought they might be a bit bitter, but when I tasted them they were like a deep dark nutty chocolate.  Pure bitterness, simply chocolate, and the way I like it, with very little sweetness.  I find most commercially made chocolate to be too sweet.  They were almost like little chocolate chips, just a different texture.  Which is why I thought they would be wonderful in a granola! 

I have always wanted to add chocolate chips to my granola, but I thought they would make it too sweet so the cacao nibs seemed like a perfect alternative! So I used my standard granola base, and added my favorite granola nuts.   Pecans, walnuts, and sliced almonds create the best texture in my opinion!  I also added coconut for sweetness, as well as some dried cherries since they go so well with chocolate, or cacao nibs.  I love the smell of granola baking, it smells almost like a coffeecake or something, and this batch did not dissapoint in the aroma department!  I had to sample some as soon as it was removed from the oven and was just below the burning my mouth hotness level!  It was wonderful! 

The cacao nibs were like mini chocolate chips, and the flavor was almost like a chewy granola I had eaten as a kid but way better!  The dried cherries added a nice tart sweet chewy contrast to the crunchy granola.  As all granolas are, this one is very addictive, I must warn you.  But that said, you should definately try making this especially if you would like something with a touch of chocolate without it being too sugary sweet.  It makes a wonderful mid morning or afternoon snack, but I wouldn't rule out bedtime either!  Here is the recipe if you would like to experience it for yourself!

Vanilla Scented Nut and Cacao Nib Granola
Makes about 14 cups of delicious granola

6 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 cups walnuts
2 cups pecans
1 cup almonds
2 cups large flake coconut
3/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup agave nectar
3 Tbsp maple sugar
1 Tbsp sea salt
seeds of one vanilla bean
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups dried cherries
2 cups cacao nibs

Line a large baking sheet with non-stick foil, and spray with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 and set rack at the medium position. In a large bowl, combine oats, walnuts, pecans, almonds, and coconut, and set aside. In another bowl, whisk together oil, agave nectar, maple sugar, sea salt, vanilla seeds, and vanilla extract until well combined, then pour over oat mixture and toss to coat until completely blended. Pour out onto prepared baking sheet, and spread out evenly. Bake for 35 minutes, stirring about every 10 minutes or so until the granola is evenly browned. Remove from oven and let cool. Stir in cherries, and cacao nibs and enjoy!


  1. This looks simple and delicious - my kind of recipe! Thanks! ♥ - Katrina

  2. I like everything in your granola. The store bought stuff doesn't hold a candle to this. I like to eat my warmed with a little vanilla soy milk. This would be awesome warmed. Can't wait to try it.

  3. Love this blend!! Love all the perfect combinations!

  4. I bet this tastes absolutely fantastic! I like that you used so much vanilla - combined with the cherries, and the cacao nibs... ohhh I want to make this!

  5. Oh this looks wonderful! Homemade granola is far better than the store-bought version and I love the freedom you have to modify the ingredients to your liking.

  6. I love homemade granola! Love the flavors in yours too!

  7. Amy, your granola looks delicious. What a great snack!

  8. That granola sounds amazing! I've never tried cacao nibs but really want to. I haven't seen them anywhere so I'd probably have to order on the internet.

  9. This is such an awesome combo! I love your I want to snack on something!:))

  10. Wonderful granola....I would never have thought to add in the nibs.

  11. I have never tried cacao nibs either, but I will have to pick some up. I'm a granola lover and yours looks fabulous, Amy!!!