This irresistible Chocolate Espresso Granola is a perfect cereal breakfast or even healthy snacks for any time you need an energy boost.
If you have been around here for a little while, you know how much I love making a batch of homemade granola. It can be boring to make the same flavor all the time, so I am always trying to think of new flavors to mix together.
I am actually not a coffee lover, but I had this idea of making this Chocolate Espresso Granola from my Moist Steamed Chocolate Cake recipe. If you make chocolate cake or brownies, you will notice that most of the recipes call for the addition of a little bit of coffee. Why? Because coffee simply enhances the flavor of chocolate. In this granola, it deepens that rich, intense chocolatey flavor with a bit of signature bitterness from the coffee that I just can’t get enough of.
And if you want to leave the coffee powder out, you can omit it completely. Go to my Cashew Chocolate Granola for this version without coffee.
Chocolate Espresso Granola Ingredients
This recipe is super flexible and you can easily customize it with whatever add-ins that sounds the best to you. To make this Chocolate Espresso Granola recipe, you will need:
- Rolled oats or old-fashioned oats. Make sure to use rolled oats, not quick oats or instant oats. They are precooked and pressed thinner than rolled oats, so they will not retain their texture as they cook.
- Nuts. My favorite is almonds and cashews in my granola. But feel free to use your favorite nuts or you can replace them with seeds.
- Seeds. The benefits of eating seeds are very similar to those of nuts. I like adding seeds for extra flavor. More importantly, they are much cheaper than nuts. Commonly used seeds in granola include pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds. But feel free to replace them if you prefer.
- Coconut oil. You can use neutral oils like canola or grapeseed, but I prefer to use virgin (unrefined) coconut oil which is delicious, aromatic, and healthier.
- Honey/maple syrup. It offers several health benefits and is particularly healthier than using refined sugar.
- Additional sugar. Because of the addition of unsweetened cocoa powder, you will need an additional sweetener to balance its bitterness. You can actually use granulated sugar or brown sugar, but I prefer using coconut sugar or raw cane sugar that is not nearly as processed and more nutritious. Don’t use a liquid sweetener because it will make the granola soggy and wet.
- Salt. To help bring out the flavor. Do not skip it.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder. Oh yes, this is where the chocolate flavor comes from.
- Coffee powder. I recommend using instant coffee or espresso powder instead of freshly brewed coffee because you will want less water in your granola mix with a strong coffee flavor.
- Hot water. Just a little bit of water to dissolve the coffee and make sure it is fully incorporated into the mixture.
- Additional mix-Ins. I love adding unsweetened coconut flakes for more flavor. You can add it 5 minutes before you finish baking to ensure they are nicely toasted and not burnt. You can also add chocolate chips for a chocolate flavor but make sure to add them after the granola has completely cooled. If you want to give the granola extra sweetness and tanginess, feel free to add some dried fruits, such as dried cranberries or cherries. Make sure to add it after the cooked granola has cooled down to prevent it from getting burnt.
Instant Coffee vs Espresso Powder
You can choose both instant coffee or espresso powder for making Chocolate Espresso Granola. A lot of people think that they are the same, but it is different.
First, what exactly is espresso powder? Espresso powder is made from darkly roasted coffee beans that have been ground, brewed, dried, and then ground into crystal granules. Unlike espresso powder, instant coffee is ground coffee beans that will dissolve in hot water and turn into a cup or more of actual coffee. Espresso powder is much more concentrated than instant coffee and usually used by bakers to enhance chocolate flavor in many baked goods. For a more intense coffee flavor, use espresso powder instead of instant coffee when making this recipe.
Can You Use Freshly Brewed Coffee Rather Than Coffee Powder?
I have seen some recipes online using freshly brewed coffee for making granola. However, I do not really recommend it. The reason is that instant coffee or espresso powder is the easiest way to get an intense coffee flavor. In addition, the amount of water in freshly brewed coffee needed would mean adding too much liquid to the granola mixture.
How to Know Chocolate Granola is Cooked
For this recipe, I used cashews, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, and coconut flakes. If you do making this, please make sure to keep your eye on your oven during baking. The color of chocolate granola can confuse you if it is done or not.
It can be hard to know when the granola is done as it should still appear wet when it comes out of the oven, but it will finish drying as it cools. Therefore, you should look for oats and mix-ins that are slightly toasted, and granola should have a delicious sweet and buttery aroma. If when it cools, the granola is still slightly chewy, then simply heat it again for another 5-10 minutes in the oven.
Make Your Granola Clumpy
If you like big clumps in your granola, press down the granola with the back of a spatula after stirring the mixture at the halfway baking point. Then, put the pan back into the oven to finish baking. Keep in mind that the granola will not be dry right out of the oven. It will dry as it cools down. After the granola is lightly golden and fully cooked, let the granola cool completely before breaking it up. If you do not love clumpy granola, stir the granola occasionally after it cools done completely.
How to Store Granola
Keep your batch of granola in an airtight container on the counter or in the pantry for up to one month. I love having it on hand for easy breakfasts, snack time, or dessert!
More Granola Recipes
Hey homemade granola lovers, check out also these granola recipes!
- Honey Granola
- Cashew Chocolate Granola
- Matcha Cranberry Granola
- Chocolate Orange Granola
- Lemon Cranberry Granola