There is no shortage of granola recipes on-line, though I’d never heard of a chocolate variety so when it popped into my head as I was working out, I jumped on it. Many of my recipes come to me during exercise – weird. Anyhow, I got the idea to use cacao nibs and cocoa powder to make the granola chocolatey. Sure, I could use chocolate chips but this is granola, it’s supposed to be healthy!
For those not familiar with cacao nibs, they are basically raw chocolate, pieces of cacao beans that have been roasted, hulled and prepped to the point where all that there is left to do is process them into bars. Like dark chocolate, they are somewhat bitter and they are very pure with no added sugar. I like them in the granola however because there are plenty of other sweet elements. The bitter, nutty flavor of the nibs with the cherries, cranberries and maple syrup and/or date paste is delicious. Best part? Your milk in the bowl ends up like chocolate milk! Who doesn’t love that?
Cacao beans, and thus cacao nibs, are one of the best dietary sources of magnesium — a mineral needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies — with 272 milligrams per 100 grams. Cacao nibs are very high in antioxidants, and have about 9 grams of fiber per 1 ounce!
Since they will melt like any other type of chocolate, you need to wait until the granola is cooled before adding the cacao nibs.