Dark Chocolate Cranberry Coconut Granola (Gluten Free!)

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Most of you are probably already aware of my deep love for granola. I did, after all, right an ode to it not too long ago. I usually always have a stash of it hidden in my desk drawer at work, and I just can’t resist a good sprinkle of granola on a bowl of yogurt.

Despite my love of granola, I usually don’t venture out much from the first homemade recipe I tried almost a year ago. It has everything I love in a granola–cranberries, coconut, and lots of nuts.

But then I saw this granola over at Annie’s Eats , and suddenly there was a new granola in town.

A granola with chunks of dark chocolate in it.

Be still my soul.

This recipe did not disappoint. It still has all the things I love about my old granola recipe, but with two very important additions.

First, toasting. Here’s the thing about toasting. I swear it’s magical. One minute you have pretty tasty  coconut and the next minute you have “so good I want to cry” coconut. I don’t know why it works this way, but it does. And in this granola, not only is the coconut toasted but so are the nuts and oats. There will be many tears of joy shed.

Second very important addition, chocolate. Why I didn’t think to add this before, I have no clue. Clearly I was suffering from some condition that prevented my brain from functioning at full capacity (I think doctors call it sleep depravity). The dark chocolate balances out the sweetness of the honeyed oats and coconut perfectly. Plus, it’s chocolate…in my granola. Enough said.

chocolate cranberry granola 1

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Coconut Granola

Yield: About 16 cups
Recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats

2 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut*
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts*
1 cup almond slices*
6 cups old fashioned rolled oats *
6 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 cup honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups dried cranberries*
12 oz. semi sweet chocolate chunks*

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sweetened coconut and cook, stirring often, until browned around the edges. This will go quickly once it gets started so keep an eye on it or you’ll end up with blackened coconut (Believe me, I know). Transfer toasted coconut to a bowl and wipe down the pan.
3.  Add walnuts and almonds and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and fragrant–about 3 minutes.
4. Stir in the rolled oats and canola oil and cook until the oats are lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. (I had to do this in two batches because my skillet wasn’t big enough to hold all the oats at once).
5. Transfer the oat and nut mixture into a HUGE bowl. Add honey, cinnamon, and salt and stir until evenly distributed. Spread the mixture evenly on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
6. Move the granola over to one side of the baking sheet and press it into a thick slab. Let cool then break into bite sized chunks.
7. Place in a large bowl, mix in toasted coconuts, cranberries, and chocolate, and serve.

***It’s important to check labels of these ingredients to ensure they are gluten free and were not processed with equipment that also processes wheat products.

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