This Recipe Proves That There’s a Healthy Way to Have Chocolate for Breakfast

Photos: Botanica

Thanks to unicorn everything, breakfast is starting to regain a little bit of its childhood magic—you know, back when cereals in wildly artificial colors were the only thing that could get you out of bed in the morning. (Other than a new episode of Saved By The Bell, that is.)

But let’s get real: As fun as it is to mix elaborate pastel spreads for your toast, it's not always possible to make an Insta-worthy breakfast when you're rushing to work.

Los Angeles-based chefs Heather Sperling and Emily Fiffer have figured out a simpler, yet still healthy, way to bring some of those fourth-grade vibes into your busy weekday mornings: cacao coconut granola. The mineral- and antioxidant-rich concoction is currently on the menu at their new Silver Lake restaurant and market, Botanica, which just debuted (along with its own companion culinary e-zine).

"Packed with cacao powder and nibs, and sweetened only with honey, it's an excellent energy booster."

"We love this granola because it's an awesome, wholesome excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast,” says Sperling. It's also super-energizing (without any accompanying sugar crash), thanks to the fact that the only sweetener in it is honey. Just ask the chef: "We've been sustaining ourselves throughout the insanity of our restaurant opening with handfuls of it nearly every hour, on the hour.”

The duo likens their creation to grown-up Cocoa Puffs, so it makes sense that they’d dish it up it in an elevated way, too. “At Botanica, we serve the granola with house-made cashew-date milk, organic cow's milk, or sheep's-milk yogurt sweetened with a touch of maple syrup and sliced strawberries on top," says Fiffer. Sure, it sounds fancy, but the good news is nobody’s going to stop you from slurping the chocolate-infused milk out of your bowl after you’re done.

Ready to step-up your cereal game? Read on for Botanica’s cacao coconut granola recipe.

Botanica’s Cacao Coconut Granola

Yields 4 cups

2 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
1/4 cup cacao nibs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup cacao powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened toasted coconut flakes

1. Preheat oven to 335°F and line a baking sheet with parchment.

2. In a large bowl, mix the oats and seeds.

3. Heat a small saucepan to low and melt the coconut oil, honey, and vanilla until incorporated. Turn heat down as far as it goes. Whisk in the cacao powder and salt until the mixture is smooth and glossy.

4. Quickly pour the wet ingredients over the dry and mix well until every last bit is covered in chocolate. Give it a taste. Stir in a bit more melted honey if you’re looking for something sweeter.

5. Pour the granola onto your baking sheet and pat into a single solid layer. (This will give you maximum clumpage.) Bake for 15 minutes, stir, pat down again, and set your timer for 10 minutes. If you start to smell toasty chocolate before the 10 minutes is up, check the granola. It goes from delicious to burned super quickly, and there’s nothing sadder than charred chocolate. Remove it from the oven early if it’s looking dark. (The edges usually burn first—we know from experience!)

6. Stir in the cacao nibs and toasted coconut flakes.

7. Let the granola cool completely before serving or sealing. (This’ll take an hour or two—be patient!) Store it in a glass jar and it’ll stay crunchy for weeks. Plastic freezer bags work, too—it just won’t last as long.

*Your oven might run hotter than ours, in which case your batch might bake faster and burn easier. If this is the case, bake at 325°F.

You need something to wash the delish granola down with—try this almond-macadamia nut milk recipe. If dessert's more your speed, opt for these sweet potato-cacao brownies with avocado frosting

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