Crunchy Spicy Chocolate Granola

It’s a new week already – can you believe it? I don’t like to or want to wish time away, but I have to say, I am so ready for spring that I’m ok with February flying by.

The winter months in Michigan are often incredibly dismal. I heard someone say that throughout the past couple of weeks, we’ve gotten about as much snow as we do throughout the entire winter season. I don’t know how true that is, but all I know is that we’ve gotten a fair amount of snow, and I’m ready for it to be gone. Snow is pretty for a few moments (that is, if I’m home and don’t have anything to do or anywhere to go!) but pretty soon, Michigan is turned into a gray, soggy, cold place.

It is for that exact reason that something different and fun is needed.

For my parents, that meant a vacation to warm, sunny Mexican beaches.

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For me, it meant something new in the kitchen, inspired by what I’ve often heard called “Mexican chocolate”.

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A few years ago, my roommate Jessica made some chocolate chili biscotti (vegan) and ever since then, I’ve really enjoyed spicy chocolate flavors. However, I hadn’t ever done anything with it myself.

Well, when my parents were in Mexico, I watched Ina Garten make Mexican hot chocolate on Food Network, and thought: why don’t I concoct something chocolatey and spicy, but also a good snack?

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The result was this granola. All natural ingredients, vegan, gluten free, and just amazing.

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Crunch Spicy Chocolate Granola (egg, nut, dairy, and gluten free)
makes about 5 1/2 cups

Ingredients:
– 1 1/4 cups oats
– 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
– 1/2 cup crispy rice cereal
– 2 tbsp. ground flaxseed
– 1/4 cup all-natural sweetener, such as Stevia
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– 3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
– 1/4 tsp. (or more, if you’re daring!) ground cayenne pepper

– 3 tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
– 1 1/2 tbsp. sunflower seed butter (or any nut butter, if you’re tolerant)
– 1/3 cup honey

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325*F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (oats through cayenne pepper).
  3. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine applesauce, sunbutter, and honey. Microwave for 40 seconds. Stir well.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. Spoon the granola onto the baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
  5. Allow to cool completely before storing. Store in a glass container for best effects (I find that plastic containers leech a plastic-y taste into granola!).
  6. Enjoy!

Notes:
– A dash or two of cinnamon in there would be great too, and would be on par with Ina Garten’s hot chocolate recipe. I just didn’t add it because I really wanted to chocolate and chili flavors to shine through. Play around with this recipe and see what you come up with! πŸ™‚

Nutrition Facts (per 1/3 cup serving):
Calories: 97; Fat: 2; Carbs: 18; Protein: 2.7; Fiber: 1.8.

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If you’re suffering from the winter blues like I am, try baking up a batch of this fiery granola to warm up your body and mind! πŸ™‚

Have a great and happy Monday. Thanks for stopping by!

14 comments

  1. pickyrunner · · Reply

    This sounds really good! I don’t like nuts so finding granola without any in it is really difficult. Yum!

    1. I agree – it IS hard to find nut-free granola recipes! I hope you give this one a try! πŸ™‚

  2. I have never made my own granola but this sounds good

    1. Really? It’s super easy and sooo cheap! I love it.

  3. Love this. Since i am off today, Im going to stop at the grocery store and get the ingredients

    1. Great! I hope you like it!

  4. I love the addition of crispy rice cereal!

    1. It adds such a great texture!

  5. […] Crunchy Spicy Chocolate Granola. Yum. […]

  6. Oh my word this looks phenomenal. I cannot wait to make this granola!!

    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy it!

  7. Love this recipe!

  8. […] Crunchy Spicy Chocolate Granola […]

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