A couple of years ago, I created a delicious (if I do say so myself) dairy-free chocolate granola recipe for Attune Foods. When they had to discontinue their granola line, they wanted something to offer customers who mourned the loss of the beloved chocolate variety. It was a double chocolate granola, with cocoa and dark chocolate chunks, that included a wholesome crispy wheat cereal. For the holidays, I decided to amp up that original recipe with another dose of chocolate, while making it gluten-free, to boot!
Though baking for food allergic friends and family can be tricky, due to cross-contamination concerns, those of us with food restrictions can give others a taste of just how amazing “free-from” can be with this delicious chocolate granola. Plus, all of the ingredients are readily accessible at most stores, and the entire recipe requires mere minutes of hands on time.
The recipe can be enjoyed as a loose sweet cereal, with chocolate chips or dark chocolate chunks added once cool. Or, for amazing chocolaty clusters, you can stir mini dairy-free chocolate chips in while the granola is still quite warm. The melty, gooey goodness helps act as decadent “cement” once the chocolate granola has completely cooled.
Special Diet Notes & Options: Triple Chocolate Granola
By ingredients, this chocolate granola recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, tree nut-free, vegan and vegetarian. Note that not all rice cereals are gluten-free and/or allergy-friendly. I use Erewhon Organic Cocoa Crispies to keep things wholesome and free-from.
Also, I like to use mini chocolate chips when creating chocolate granola clusters (my favorite). Where sensitive milk allergies are a concern, Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips are a great option. If potential traces of milk are not a concern for you, then Ghirardelli semi-sweet mini chocolate chips may be a good option, since they are made without milk ingredients. When making a “loose” granola, larger dairy-free chips or dark chocolate chunks can be used.
- 2 cups rolled oats (certified gluten-free oats if needed)
- 2 cups cocoa crispy cereal (I use Erewhon Organic Cocoa Crispy Brown Rice Cereal
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 6 tablespoons maple syrup (can sub honey or agave nectar)
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar (can sub coconut sugar or evaporated cane juice, if desired)
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed, rice bran, olive or coconut oil
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup dairy-free mini chocolate chips (regular size or dark chocolate chunks also work)
- Preheat your oven to 250ºF and lightly grease a large baking sheet or line it with a silicone baking mat.
- Combine the oats, cereal, and cocoa powder in a large bowl.
- Place the maple, sugar (if using coconut sugar, I like to grind it into a powder first), and oil in a saucepan, and heat until the sugar is mostly dissolved. For a shortcut, you can heat the wet ingredients in the microwave in 15 second intervals, until the brown sugar is mostly dissolved (just 30 to 45 seconds total).
- Stir the vanilla and salt into the liquid ingredients. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and stir to evenly coat.
- Spread the granola out in your prepared pan.
- Bake for 45 to 60 minutes – this will vary quite a bit on climate (in dry climates my granola crisps up in less than an hour sometimes, on the coast, it can easily take 90 minutes), checking in every 20 to 30 minutes to stir.
- For clusters, immediately remove the granola to a large bowl and gently stir in the chocolate chips (just a few turns) while the granola is still warm.
- For a looser granola, let the granola cool completely, before stirring in the chocolate chips.
- Note that the granola will crisp up more as it cools. Break up clusters, if desired.