Chocolate Banana Granola

by Kelly on May 31, 2008

After my last batch of granola I was hooked on how simple it was to prepare and easy it was to customize. I knew all that stood between me and another batch was polishing off the last of my mango berry granola, which I did earlier in the week. For my second version I wanted to combine two of my most favorite flavors: chocolate and banana. My goal was to create a batch that would SEEM indulgent, but still be healthy enough to have a frequent place in my breakfast rotation. In the end I ended up taking a Cooking Light recipe for Chocolate Crunch and adapting it significantly to meet my needs. The stars of the granola were chunks of Trader Joe’s flattened bananas and Vosges Naga Gourmet Chocolate Chips. The chocolate chips had been hanging around for awhile. My aunt was actually sweet enough to buy them for me a couple of summers ago, but they were a bit pricy so I’d put off using them, always waiting for the “perfect” recipe. I decided to use them in the granola because I figured the rest of the flavors were simple enough that the chocolate’s unique flavors of curry and coconut would get to shine (not to mention they sounded DELECTABLE with banana).

Chocolate Banana Granola
Yield: About 8 cups (serving size: 1/2 cup)
Cooking spray
3 cups regular oats
1 cup quinoa flakes
? cup chopped pecans
40 grams dried bananas, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup brown rice syrup (honey also works very well)
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 ounces Vosges Naga Chocolate Chips, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 300°.
Cover a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper. Coat parchment paper with cooking spray.
Reconstitute dried banana chunks in 1 cup boiling water; drain well.
Combine oats, quinoa flakes, chopped dried banana, chopped pecans, and salt in a large bowl.
Combine brown rice syrup and canola oil in a small saucepan over low heat; cook 2 minutes or until warm. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; stir with a whisk until smooth. Pour chocolate mixture over oat mixture. Lightly coat hands with cooking spray. Gently mix chocolate mixture and oat mixture until combined. Spread oat mixture onto prepared jelly-roll pan. Bake at 300° for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Cool completely on pan.

The Verdict: This granola was quite yummy. I always feel like I’m tooting my own horn when I compliment a recipe that I’ve customized, but it genuinely is quite good. When I asked my boyfriend what I could change he told me it was perfect as is and he hoped I’d saved the recipe. If you don’t have Naga Chocolate Chips this would still be delicious with good quality milk chocolate substituted instead along with some flaked coconut, curry powder, and a little cinnamon. These flavors all pair very well with the toasted flavor of the oats and pecans and the sweetness of the bananas. The chocolate flavor is also a bit subtle so it’s chocolately without being cloyingly sweet. Overall I really enjoy this flavor combination and can’t wait to experiment more. Summer seems like the perfect time to switch from stovetop and baked oatmeal to granola and fruit parfaits so I see many more variations in my future.

Photo to come.
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