When I first ran across a recipe for mocha granola, it was an a-ha moment. Coffee, chocolate and breakfast all in one bite? Brilliant! It sounded like the perfect offering for a weekend away, a camping trip, a hike, etc. And so, the experimenting and recipe sampling began.
Granola making is neither rocket science nor an exact science. It involves mixing oats with all your favorite tastes and textures, lubing it up some fat and sweetener, and baking it in the oven until it is crisp but not burnt. How much fat and sweetener is where granola can go from pretty healthy to totally decadent. One swishy LA café’s mocha granola recipe involves two sticks of butter. Well, duh. Of course it tastes good. So does a cheesecake, but it doesn’t really get your day off to a healthy start. Some recipes call for only ground coffee, which can get gritty and others for only brewed coffee which can be kind of wimpy. I needed to slay this beast.
In my excitement I misread the first recipe, and by measuring ground coffee vs brewed coffee ended up using a solid 8 times the intended amount of coffee. That first batch could have been named “True Grit.” Still, I didn’t want to back off that much on the coffee flavor, which happens if you use only brewed coffee. The extra liquid also means your granola takes longer to bake and crisp. I settled on using a combo of finely ground coffee, in the dry ingredients, along with brewed coffee mixed in with the oil and maple syrup.
The flavor profile of this reminded me of my youth, when Jamocha Almond Fudge ice cream turned my world upside down. I am pretty sure that in 6th grade I worked the flu for an extra day to stay home with this particular flavor. This recipe bridges the territory of breakfast and treat. It’s got a double dose of coffee— liquid and ground—which is balanced by
a fair yet not indecent amount of sweetener, mostly in the form of maple syrup. I also added unsweetened flaked coconut, because when coconut rolls around and gets toasty with maple syrup it assumes bacon-like decadence.
You can sub butter or another oil for the coconut oil, and mess around with the type and quantity of sweetener you like (or have). Play around with it, and when you walk back inside your house and it smells like coffee, chocolate and roasted nuts…you’re welcome!
- 2 ½ cups rolled oats
- 1 cup almonds (or nut of choice)
- 1 cup unsweetened flakes coconut (this is the addict dose. Use your judgment)
- 1 Tbsp cocoa
- 1 Tbsp finely ground coffee
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup
- ½ tsp or more vanilla (optional, but why not?)
- 6 oz strong brewed coffee
Preheat oven to 325. Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper. (It will cook up and crisp faster in two.)
In a large bowl combine oats, almonds, coconut, cocoa and ground coffee.
In a small saucepan melt oil and stir it together with syrup and brewed coffee until combined.
Pour liquid mixture over oats and combine well. Spread granola evenly in pan(s).
Bake, stirring and checking every 10 minutes, for 30-40 minutes, until desired dryness. Don’t skip the stirring, especially if it’s all on one pan. The granola will crisp up more as it cools. Cool completely before storing.
Curl up that parchment paper and funnel this goodness straight into a mason jar. Bring it anywhere you want to be a morning hero.