This dark chocolate hazelnut granola with raspberries is a cut above the rest because it is bound with banana, with no added sugar! The hazelnuts, berries, coconut, and cacao here create a flavor combo that is a big hit with kids. Your children will not miss the sugary breakfast cereals when there is a batch of this in the house!
Raspberries are no longer in season but worry not, my friends. You don’t have to give up these delicious berries until next summer. This dark chocolate hazelnut granola with raspberries recipe uses freeze-dried raspberries, a great way to get both berry flavor and shelf-stability. Yesss!
I was able to find bags of freeze-dried raspberries with the regular dried fruit at Trader Joe’s. If you do not have a Trader Joe’s in your area, check your local health food stores. They are also available online, but you will likely save a lot of money by finding them locally.
I’ve made this recipe both with Bob’s Red Mill large unsweetened coconut flakes and Trader Joe’s unsweetened coconut chips. They both work well, but the coconut chips are quite large and can benefit from being crushed down a bit. I prefer Bob’s coconut flakes since they can be used as-is.
I don’t recommend leaving this chocolate hazelnut granola in a jar in the pantry, though. Since we are using mashed ripe bananas to bind the clumps rather than honey, this one is better off in the fridge.
Here’s a tip if you need a shelf-stable option
If you want shelf-stable granola, substitute the mashed banana for 2 T of honey. Honey can last thousands of years (it was found still edible in an Egyptian tomb!). It should be fine for a few weeks at room temperature in this granola.
The downside of using honey is that it does count as an added sugar. In addition, you miss out on the fiber and phytonutrients in the banana when you use honey instead.
I’ve made this recipe both ways, and I think it is better with the banana. The clumps dry out perfectly with the banana, while they tend to remain slightly sticky with honey. If you have a choice, I’d definitely go with the banana.
I get that there are circumstances where you might need an option that does not require refrigeration, such as on road trips. Recently, I entered a recipe contest where the granola was going to be sitting out on display for an entire month! Banana-bound granola was out, but using a touch of honey did the trick.
Share your culinary skills with others by entering food contests
Putting your creative skills to work and entering regional recipe contests is a great way to have fun and gain recognition. I especially enjoy contests at fairs, because they will often give you a few free fair tickets for entering. I’ve been entering fair contests (in both baking and creative arts) since I was a teenager.
I recently came across some photos from 2011, when I participated in a “Bake for the Cure” contest. My recipe, which won third place, was for apple cinnamon rolls with caramel glaze. They were drool-worthy, but certainly not helping to cure any sort of chronic illness. (Yikes!)
I had not fully come to terms at this point with the fact that I was becoming obese. I needed to shift my eating habits; I was no longer ill from chemo and desperately trying to maintain my weight. This sort of “baking for the cure” was not helping me out.
When you develop a recipe, you often have to make several batches, tweaking ingredients until it is just right. Eating cinnamon rolls every morning, packed with refined four, added sugars, added oils, and smothered in glaze was not the best choice. Looking back, I feel a little embarrassed that I wasn’t showcasing a more health-promoting recipe at this contest.
Take two; aiming to do better this time…
For several years after that, I stayed away from food contests at the fairs and stuck with the creative arts contests. I had lost 70 pounds from late 2012 to early 2013, and I was determined not to gain it back. Developing unhealthy recipes no longer fit well into my lifestyle anymore.
Something I realized this year was that I could use these contests as a platform to promote healthier choices. I did not have to completely give up this part of my life that I enjoyed. I am doing this for fun, so it doesn’t matter if I don’t beat the folks using less healthy recipes.
The granola recipe below is full of whole food ingredients and contains no added sugar. It does provide a significant amount of saturated fat from coconut and coconut oil. I needed to make this delicious enough to be competitive with the entrants who were using a ton of sugar. (P.S.: I think that I have succeeded!)
The serving size for this granola (and pretty much all granola) is very small. It is an especially good idea to be mindful of the portion size if you have a weight loss goal. This helps to keep your saturated fat intake from the added oil in check as well.
And now for the disclaimer…
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The calorie information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don’t sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to this post. Let’s get cooking!
Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Granola with Raspberries
- Preheat oven to 275°F (135°C).
- Combine all ingredients except the raspberries in a mixing bowl.
- Spread the mixture out evenly on a large baking sheet.
- Bake for 25 minutes. It makes the house smell wonderful!
- The granola is done cooking when it is golden brown. It will continue to crisp as it cools.
- After removing the granola from the oven, stir in the raspberries. Not baking the raspberries allows them to retain their beautiful color.
- When cool, store the granola in lidded canning jars in the refrigerator. Enjoy! Makes approximately 12 ½-cup servings.
This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). Granola (even this no added sugar granola) tends to be packed with high-calorie ingredients, making it an energy-dense food. That’s great if you have high calorie needs due to an active lifestyle or just being a teenager. On the other hand, it is not the best choice for weight loss. If you have a weight loss goal, instead of snacking on granola alone, pair it with high-volume, low-calorie foods and make it a meal. Fill a small bowl with chopped fruit and plain Greek yogurt, and have a single serving of this granola on top. It is extremely easy to eat an excessive amount of granola if it is not measured out.
What are your favorite granola add-ins? Let me know your top picks, and please leave a rating if you try this chocolate hazelnut granola. I think that you are going to love it!