Crunchy homemade granola with chunks of chocolate and sweet dried cranberries is a satisfying and delicious breakfast. Is there anything better than chocolate for breakfast? That's a rhetorical question, because I don't think there is. It doesn't have to be as indulgent as it sounds, as a little bit of dark chocolate goes a long way in this Dark Chocolate and Cranberry Granola recipe.
This is such a great batch cook breakfast, as it stores well. Make a huge pan and then store it in a jar for quick and easy breakfasts over the next couple of weeks. You just can't beat homemade granola (we even have a Low Sugar Granola), as you can control exactly what goes in to it. It also smells amazing when cooking.
Why you will love it
- Chocolate for breakfast - Whilst we love eggs for breakfast, we are also a big fan of sweet breakfasts and this tastes far more indulgent than it actually is. If you get a chocolate craving at breakfast, then this is a great way to feed it, literally.
- Good for batch cooking - This recipe makes a big tray of 10 servings of granola, so it is ideal for batch cooking and keeping for breakfasts over the coming weeks, as it stores really well.
- Easy - I bet you didn't know how easy it was to make your own granola! It's as simple as melting the honey and coconut oil, mixing everything together and baking until nice and crispy.
- Adaptable - We have used chocolate and cranberries as the main flavours in this homemade granola, but there are lots of ways that you can adapt it. More on that below.
- Honey - This is what sweetens the granola and helps to make it sticky and bind it together. You can swap it for maple syrup, which would help to make it vegan too (you would also need to adapt the chocolate for a vegan alternative).
- Coconut oil - This is what binds everything together.
- Oats - We used rolled oats (old fashioned oats) as the texture is better and it helps everything stick together. We wouldn't recommend using instant or quick cook oats, as they don't hold together as well. If you want this to be a gluten free, then you need to make sure the oats are certified gluten free.
- Cranberries - This adds a lovely sweetness, as well as a little tart flavour. We used dried cranberries, as dried fruit works best in granola, but other dried fruit works well too.
- Chocolate - We used a really good quality dark chocolate (70%) and the strong flavour means that a little goes a long way.
- Almonds - These add plenty of crunch and texture to the granola. We used whole almonds, but you can use sliced almonds or even a mixture of both.
How to make granola - Step by step
One: Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 and line a large baking sheet with grease proof paper.
Two: Place the honey and coconut oil in a pan and melt over a low heat. Add the remaining ingredients, except the chocolate and cranberries, and mix well.
Three: Pour the granola on to the baking sheet and spread it out evenly. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, stirring halfway.
Four: Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and then add the chocolate and cranberries and mix. Transfer to an airtight container and use within 2 weeks.
Why does granola come from?
Granola, usually made up of a base of rolled oats and honey and baked until crisp, dates back to the late 1800s, where it was served at a health spa in New York. It died out when the spa closed in the early 20th century, and then made a revival in the '60s when fruit and nuts were added to it and it was promoted as a health food.
I am always surprised at how much "gourmet" granola brands can get away with charging for a bag of jazzed up granola. The basic ingredients of granola are some of the cheapest around and just by throwing in some dried fruit/nuts and some chocolate they can bump up the price tag by 50%. Why am I surprised? Because it's so easy to make yourself at home, and the best bit is, the flavour combinations are almost endless.
Chocolate and cranberries are the stars here, and this is a fairly simple recipe. However there are a few different ways that you can adapt it.
Chocolate - This is one of the main flavours in the granola, so try to use the best quality that you can. We used a 70% dark chocolate, as the strong flavour means that you can get away with using less as it goes a long way. But you can also use milk or white chocolate. Add some extra flavour with a flavoured chocolate like chocolate orange.
Fruit - Dried fruit is what you want to use here. We used dried cranberries, but dried cherries, apricots, dates, raisins or sultanas will also work.
Nuts - We used almonds, but any nuts work well. You can use just one nut, or use a mixture of a few. Nuts that work well are pecans, cashews, peanuts or walnuts.
Extras - It doesn't just have to be nuts that are added to this granola. Seeds as lots of crunch too and we like adding sunflower or pumpkin seeds. If you wanted to add some extra flavour, and festive flavour at that, then add a sprinkle of cinnamon in to the mixture - it goes so well with the chocolate.
What to serve with chocolate granola
We usually serve granola with some milk in a bowl, but there is so much more that you can do with it. You can eat it with yogurt, or use it to top muffins with - it's also really good on ice cream.
Also, why not try it on top of a Smoothie Bowl. But, cranberry and dark chocolate granola muffins sound like something I am going to try very soon.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can make up a big batch of this and just keep it in an airtight container for two weeks. Or a day or two, which is about as long as it lasts in our house! Every time one of us walks past the jar we can't help opening it up and having a sneaky handful or two of it. It's got fruit in it, so it can't be bad!
We also take a bag of this out with us if we are going on a long hike, as it is light, nutritious and high in calories if you eat enough of it, so it makes good hiking fuel. Don't be put off the high calorie part though, it's a good amount of calories to have for breakfast if you just eat one serving of it. But that's the hard part, just eating one serving.
Yes, you can actually freeze granola which not many people know about. Put it in a zip lock bag and squeeze as much air out of it as possible. Don't keep it in the freezer for any longer than 3 months and defrost it as room temperature before using.
If you use oats that are certified gluten free and make sure that there is no cross contamination, then this can be gluten free.
This recipe is not vegan, because we have used honey and non vegan chocolate. However, you can make a vegan version by using maple syrup instead of honey and using a vegan dark chocolate.
Yes, you can easily double the recipe, but you will need to spread it across two backing trays.
More breakfast recipes
Dark Chocolate and Cranberry Granola
- 4 tablespoon Runny honey
- 4 tablespoon Coconut oil
- 180 g (2.25 cups) Rolled oats
- 100 g (1 cups) Dried cranberries
- 100 g (0.75 cups) Almonds
- 100 g (0.5 cups) Chocolate - 80% dark; roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C(fan)/400°F/Gas 6 and line a large baking sheet with grease proof paper.
- Place 4 tablespoon Runny honey and 4 tablespoon Coconut oil in a pan and melt over a low heat. Add 180 g Rolled oats and 100 g Almonds.
- Pour the granola onto the baking sheet and spread it out evenly. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, stirring halfway.
- Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and then add 100 g Chocolate (chopped) and 100 g Dried cranberries and mix. Transfer to an airtight container and use within 2 weeks.
- Make sure you leave the granola to cool on the baking tray before you eat it or put it in a jar. I know, it is hard not to eat it straight from the tray.
- Feel free to use a mixture of nuts and dried fruit.
- You can freeze granola, but make sure that it isn't frozen for longer than 3 months.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.