My children eat oatmeal all winter long. They never tired of it. I don't get it. Come summer I can't even stand to make it any more, though I'm sure they would eat it. I need something cool and quick for hot summer mornings. Last year I discovered this recipe for chocolate granola and it is delicious. Really it's not like granola at all, it's more like cereal--real, out-of-the-box cereal, something that rarely shows up in this house. But a jar of Hippie Cocoa Pebbles is now a staple in my cupboard.
The first step is extra hippie: soak the nuts overnight. Hippie Cocoa Pebbles are nut based--they contain no grains, no oats, no gluten at all. Super great! but nuts contain a lot of phytic acid, which is an anti-nutrient (I laughed the first time I heard that word too). Soaking minimizes the damage phytic acid can do. You can obviously read more about this on the internets if you are interested, but for now just know that soaking the nuts makes this cereal taste better and be better for you.
After the nuts have soaked overnight, you rinse them, dry them, and pulverize them in the food processor. I make quite a big batch, so the nuts fill my food processor up to the top. This involves a bit of stopping and stirring in between chopping, so they don't inadvertently become nut butter! You want them to be about the consistency of grape nuts--on the coarser side of finely chopped I'd say.
Then you make a delicious mixture of butter and cocoa and maple syrup. I freely admit that I hide from my children in the kitchen and lick the spoon clean.
About the cocoa powder: buy the best stuff you can find. Really. This recipe uses a lot (1/2 cup) and it is the dominant flavor, so break out the good stuff. I am in love with Penzey's high fat cocoa powder. It smells like chocolate, rich dark chocolate. Cocoa powder should smell like chocolate, right? Sadly, most smell like ash (I'm looking at you Hershey's).
Then you take that lovely buttery, chocolatey syrup you just made and mix it with the nuts. If you make a smaller batch you can get away with mixing in the food processor, but for a large batch it works out better in a bowl. This is where I usually forget to add the coconut, so if you don't care for coconut feel free to forget it. Toasted coconut (if you have some leftover) would be absolutely lovely.
All of it goes into a warm oven and as it bakes it fills your whole house with the most amazing chocolatey aroma. The temperature of the oven is so low in fact (200 F) that if you have a dehydrator now's the time to dust it off. I think it would even qualify as raw then. This cereal does indeed come with a lot of buzz words: Gluten free! Grain free! Low sugar! No refined sugar! Paleo! But there's only one word it comes with that really matters: Delicious!
hippie cocoa pebbles
adapted from Gourmand in the Kitchen's chocolate granola
- 3 cups almonds
- 2 cups pecans (you can easily substitute walnuts, macadamias, or skinless hazelnuts, but if you use cashews only soak them for 2-3 hours)
- 3/4 cup butter (coconut oil is a good substitute if you can't do dairy)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 cup dried, unsweetened coconut (optional)
- Soak the nuts in filtered water overnight. Drain and rinse them well. Dry on a clean kitchen towel.
- Chop in a food processor until they are the size of little pebbles (cocoa pebbles!)
- Melt butter and maple syrup over low heat.
- Add cocoa powder and mix well.
- Pour the buttery mixture and the nuts into a big bowl and mix thoroughly
- Add the coconut and mix.
- Spread the cereal on two sheet pans lined with parchment paper.
- Bake in a 200 degree F oven for 2 1/2-3 hours, stirring now and then.
- Cool and store in airtight containers.
- Hippie Cocoa Pebbles keep two weeks at room temperature, longer in the freezer.
This recipe makes 5-6 cup cereal. Enjoy!