Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chocolate Cherry and Nutella Granola Clusters

There comes a point in every woman's life when she just needs chocolate. And sometimes fellow women need to step in and help one another out. My mom had been having a rough week and I knew just how to cheer her up. 

The one thing anyone who knows my mom will know is she loves chocolate. She also loves granola. I decided to combine the two and thus Chocolate Cherry and Nutella Granola Clusters were born. It is super easy to make and my mom LOVED it! It would make a great gift for any chocolate lover in your life, and nothing is better than a homemade gift- especially one that is edible! 

You will need:
  • 1 3/4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup organic agave nectar or honey
  • slightly less than 1/2 cup Nutella 
  • OPTIONAL: 1/3 cup pink and red M&M's for Valentine's Day

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet or pan with tin foil. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine old fashioned oats and dried cherries.

In a microwave safe mixing bowl combine agave nectar/honey and Nutella. Microwave for 15 seconds, stir, microwave for an additional 20 seconds, and stir again until Nutella and agave/honey are fully combined and liquidy. 

Carefully pour Nutella/agave mixture into the oat mixture. Use a spatula to scrap out any remaining Nutella from the bowl. Toss the oat/cherry mixture until all the oats are fully coated.

Using the spatula spread the coated oat mixture over lined baking sheet. Sprinkle half the chocolate chips over oats, they will melt baking and make the granola even more chocolaty. 

Bake for 23 minutes, or until the oats are a darker brown than when they went in. Bake no longer than 27 minutes or it will get too crunchy. The granola will be soft when removed from oven, this is ok. As granola cools it will harden and become crunchy, like normal granola. 

Upon removing granola from oven sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips, and maybe even a few extra, over mixture. If you don't want all the chocolate chips to melt wait to add them until the granola is fully cooled. Allow granola to cool for half an hour or until completely cool. 

Once cool add chocolate chips and M&M's if desired. 

Finally using your hands break granola into clusters. Store in an airtight container for up to three weeks, but it will be eaten long before then ;)

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