My last quarter of undergraduate classes, my guy’s boss sent him overseas to Taiwan for the first five weeks to teach a chemistry course as part of an exchange program. Although neither of us looked forward to the distance or time difference, we planned to make do with lots of emails and a few video chats online.
The week before, we took a short two-day vacation to the Los Angeles area. We walked along the beach, where he chased the waves a little too closely and ended up with soaking wet jeans; visited the Page Museum, where we watched volunteers meticulously dust off newly discovered fossils; stopped for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, where I nearly single-handedly polished off an entire Hula Pie ice cream dessert by myself; meandered out along a pier, where a practically blind seagull almost flew straight into my guy’s head; and drove through the rain to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, where we chuckled at the seals in the synchronized swimming routine.
Despite our fun-filled weekend, his departure date arrived much too quickly. As I helped him pack his suitcase for his midnight 14-hour flight, he handed me a grocery bag, saying, “Here, for when I’m gone.”
I peeked inside, and my heart immediately melted. He bought me a box of chocolate-filled chocolate cereal! The man knows me too well… It was exactly what I needed to get through his first few days away.
This past week, while stocking up on baking ingredients, I breezed down the cereal aisle at the store and spotted that same box. Although incredibly tempted to stick it in my cart, I decided to bake my own chocolaty breakfast cereal instead, something slightly healthier but just as delicious!
Dark and decadent, my low-fat Double Chocolate Brownie Granola completely surprised me with its rich taste. (And as a chocoholic, that almost never happens!) Its gourmet flavor surpasses just about anything you could buy from the store, yet it’s still healthy and clean eating friendly—with an easy vegan option too!
Let’s start with the granola. I always mix Rice Krispies into my granola bases because they add a huge crunch without the excess calories you’d get from drizzling in extra oil. It might sound strange, but lots of companies mix them into their own boxed granolas too! I measured out equal parts of old-fashioned oats and Rice Krispies for maximum crunch.
Some other granola recipes, including a few of my own, require you to boil the water and sugar to reduce the liquids and create a stickier syrup. Not this one! Just whisk together the wet ingredients—oil, water, and agave—and pour them into the cocoa-kissed cereal. That’s as fuss-free as it gets!
We’ll bake our healthy granola at 350°F and stir every 15 minutes. If you wait much longer to move things around, the cereal closest to the edges of the pan browns too quickly and threatens to burn. The granola should finish somewhere between 40-45 minutes, but remember: it’ll continue to crisp up a little more as it cools!
While that chocolaty goodness bakes, let’s turn our attention to the brownie. Yes, we’re putting real brownie chunks into this granola! To avoid making an entire pan of brownies and ending up with too many tempting extras, I made my skinny single-serving microwave brownie and diced it into tiny pieces, about the size of two miniature chocolate chips stuck together. Its fudgy texture is the perfect complement to the crunchy granola!
Wait to mix in the brownie chunks and chocolate chips until the granola is completely cool. Otherwise, the chocolate chips start to melt into a gooey mess! Toss everything together in the pan (sneak as much as you want, I won’t judge!), and store the rest in an airtight container.
Cozy and satisfying, this skinny Double Chocolate Brownie Granola tastes almost as indulgent as a brownie itself! With luscious chunks of chocolate and rich fudgy brownies, it’s hard to believe this granola qualifies as a healthy breakfast. But it’s perfect for fruit and yogurt parfaits, mixing into milk, and satisfying any mid-morning snack attacks.
And if you’re anything like me, it’ll all be gone in less than two days!