GRAIN-FREE CHOCOLATE SEA SALT GRANOLA HUNKS

GRAIN-FREE CHOCOLATE SEA SALT GRANOLA HUNKS - The First MessGRAIN-FREE CHOCOLATE SEA SALT GRANOLA HUNKS - The First MessGRAIN-FREE CHOCOLATE SEA SALT GRANOLA HUNKS - The First Mess
I feel like it’s 2012 and I’m sea salting everything these days, but I just had to go with it in this chocolate sea salt granola hunks recipe. These are kind of like a cereal version of a Bounty Bar, but a little more wholesome and nutty. I love to cruise by the jar on the counter, grab a few hunks, and keep going on with my day. The perfect little bite of sweetness and crunch.

Maybe you’re wondering: why grain-free? I’m not on a special diet or anything (pretty evident), but I’ve been known to sprinkle traditional oat-based granola on top of my bowls of porridge (that are made with oat milk LOL), and I also love Purely Elizabeth’s grain-free granola, so I figured I’d try my hand at a homemade version. The only way I could consume even more oats would be if I drank an oat milk latte with my triple oat porridge–which I have done in the past! Anyway, it was all getting a little too oat-y for me, and I just love the nutty and coconut-y goodness of this granola.

I use (surprise!)  tahini and maple syrup as the binding base for these granola hunks. Basically my two favourite ingredients. You want tahini that is pour-able and of good quality here. I mean, you always want that for whatever recipe you’re using tahini in, but it’s really important! Seed + Mill recently sent me some samples of their tahini and it is truly divine. Hardly any bitter edge, mellow and creamy, and a nuttiness that’s enhanced by just a little bit of salt. I also enjoy the fact that it’s packaged in a glass jar with a metal lid. No plastic whatsoever. *thumbs up*

Sliced almonds and large flake coconut form the naturally grain-free cereal “flakes” for us here. They get crunchy and stick together nicely. Not much more to say about this one other than this: just make it! It’s so tasty with some sliced banana over a bit of coconut (or other plant-based) yogurt with a sprinkle of cacao nibs to really bring out the chocolate vibes. I bet some juicy segments of blood orange would be a delicious seasonal addition.

I hope that you’re having an amazing week and that everyone in the impacted areas made it through the epic Winter storm. We found out that Mickie loves jumping around in the snow piles, but that she also gets too cold in about 30 seconds haha. I’m spending the rest of my week working on some new recipe projects and a few other things on the up and up. I’m also holding strong on my 2019 goal of daily meditation–22 days in a row! I use the Insight Timer app because I love how simple it is. They say that it takes 3 weeks to form a habit, so I’m banking on that to propel me forward. Think of what you could accomplish in 3 weeks if you just really focused and shut out the distractions. Next up? I’m attempting 3 weeks of yoga. Stacking my good habits and eating my granola hunks in 2019 yessss! Sending my hugs and love.

GRAIN-FREE CHOCOLATE SEA SALT GRANOLA HUNKS - The First Mess
GRAIN-FREE CHOCOLATE SEA SALT GRANOLA HUNKS RECIPE
Print the recipe here!
Serves: Makes about 5 cups
Notes: You can substitute raw cacao powder for the cocoa if you’d like a more intense flavour.
-I like to actually taste the salt in this, but if you’re looking for more straight up sweet, chocolate-y, nutty goodness, dial the salt back to ½ teaspoon.
-I roughly chop the sunflower seeds in the food processor, but this is an optional step.
-The quality of your tahini is important. It honestly makes a world of difference! I like Seed + Mill’s tahini as well as Soom brand.
-2 baking sheets is ideal so that the granola can be spread out. Parchment or Silpat linings are necessary.

½ cup tahini
½ cup maple syrup
scant ⅓ cup melted coconut oil
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups sliced almonds
2 cups large flake coconut shreds
1 cup raw sunflower seeds, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the tahini, maple syrup, coconut oil, cocoa powder, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Once you have a smooth and unified mixture, add the almonds, coconut, and sunflower seeds to the bowl as well.

Thoroughly mix the nuts and seeds with the cocoa mixture until everything appears to be evenly coated.

Divide the granola evenly amongst the two baking sheets. Using a spatula, spread the granola out a bit. It’s okay to have some clusters of the granola, but you do want to give the clusters some space.

Bake the granola until slightly firm to the touch, about 30-35 minutes total. You’ll need to gently toss the granola at the halfway point of baking as well. Once it’s done, remove it from the oven and let it cool completely. When you first take it out, the granola hunks will seem soft and undercooked. They firm up and form the hunks as they cool.

Once completely cool, store the chocolate sea salt granola hunks in a sealed container. Granola keeps optimally for up to a week.

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