Chocolate-Lover's Granola

Do you guys make edible gifts for friends and family this time of year?

For the past 3 or 4 years I’ve been doing it (usually in addition to a non-edible gift), and it’s easily one of my favorite things about the holiday season. The first year I went traditional, putting together cookie trays, but since then I’ve changed things up trying a variety of ideas, including hot chocolate on a stick, caramel popcorn, vanilla-scented granola, gingerbread granola, homemade peppermint marshmallows, and chocolate Nutella fudge. Just trying to keep everyone guessing about what might come next :) Having planned a vacation in the middle of December this year, I won’t have as much time as usual to plan/execute edible gifts, but I’m determined to make it happen. Sleep is overrated anyway, right?

Chocolate-Lover's Granola

I probably won’t be including granola in this year’s packages, but if you’re thinking about it, this chocolate-lover’s version would be fun! I’m not sure I’d ever seen a chocolate granola prior to coming across this recipe, so I just had to try it. It’s not as decadent as it sounds – I like to think the modest amount of chocolate is balanced by the inclusion of the wheat germ and flaxseed meal. The granola isn’t overly sweet either; honey is the only sweetener and I thought it just complemented the richness of the bittersweet chocolate. While I usually eat my granola with yogurt, I preferred this in a bowl topped with milk. Chocolate for breakfast? Yes, please!

Chocolate-Lover’s Granola
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Food Gifts

2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup sliced or slivered almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup flaked coconut (I used unsweetened)
1/2 cup dry-roasted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
pinch salt
1/2 cup honey
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large heatproof bowl, stir together the oats, almonds, coconut, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, flaxseed meal, and salt. Combine the honey, chocolate, and vegetable oil in a small saucepan and set over low heat. Stirring frequently, heat until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate mixture over the oat mixture and stir to coat. Spread in an even layer on the baking sheet.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown (stirring once or twice as it bakes). Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and cool the granola completely. Break into pieces, then stir in the peanut butter chips and semisweet chocolate chips.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Makes about 7 cups