Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes

Indulgent AND healthy???

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes | CaliGirlCooking.com

That’s my kind of breakfast! And after such an action- (and food-) packed day like yesterday, these Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes are exactly what we need to get us going on an even tougher Monday morning than usual. You feel me?

We had a great time watching the Super Bowl yesterday, but as we weren’t really cheering for either of the teams, let’s be honest, we really just showed up for the food.  The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying a little break in the rain and getting outside for some beach volleyball, and a fun photo shoot with one of my new clients that I’m doing some social media work for.

We also spent some time recovering from partying all last week at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, which is a huge annual event for us thanks to the hubs’ hookup with VIP tickets. Highlights included seeing the world premiere of the film “Charged” (which is amazing, BTW, so inspiring – stay tuned for more on that one) and rubbing elbows with Denzel Washington who was given the Maltin Modern Master Award for his lifetime of achievements both on the stage and in front of the camera. We always have such a blast every year and, although it goes by way too fast, we always find ourselves ready for a good deal of extra shut-eye when all is said and done.

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes | CaliGirlCooking.com

All the more reason for these Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes to come into our lives! I realize I have not yet posted a pancake recipe here on the blog, although if you’ve checked out my eBook, you’ll know that I have a couple of tasty recipes for more standard, “go-to” pancakes. I also realize that we are now officially into the second month of the year, which means most folks are still TRYING to hold onto their New Year’s resolutions but are finding their strength is waning. I mean, how can it not be with all of these Valentine’s ads and displays floating around?

Well, I have good news for you folks! These Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes are chock full of superfoods, yet can still easily pass as dessert (or just a not-so-savory breakfast if that’s more your jam.) You know I’m all about that balance, and this recipe is practically the epitome of what I preach.

Oh, and did I mention they’re also gluten-free? I don’t purposely try to avoid gluten in my recipes (sorry for all of my gluten-intolerants out there,) but just as some of my recipes accidentally turn out vegan, some also just HAPPEN to turn out gluten-free. Just be sure to use gluten-free oats in the batter and you’ll be golden!

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes | CaliGirlCooking.com

Just like the aforementioned oats, most of the ingredients for these Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes are something you’ll likely have in your pantry already if you’re in any way tuned into the health and fitness world (or just like a damn good smoothie in the morning.) And if you don’t have these ingredients on hand already, have no fear, because our trusty old Amazon is pulling through for you once again. I even did all of the hard work for you:

MACA POWDER
PROTEIN POWDER
CHIA SEEDS

Alright kids, no more excuses. Let’s bust out our fancy blender and get to it. That’s right, I said blender. Because that’s the only thing you’ll need to whip up this recipe, aside from your nonstick skillet or griddle, of course.

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes | CaliGirlCooking.com

Seriously, the process of this pancake batter could not be any easier. Just throw all of the ingredients in the blender, give it a good whir, and you’re ready to pour said batter into your piping hot cooking vessel. Sound easy enough?

Now, we all know that a Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancake’s story can’t stop once it comes off the griddle, because isn’t a pancake breakfast all about the toppings? Yesssirreee. I opted for sliced banana, cacao nibs and high-grade maple syrup for mine, but feel free to use whatever you want! Whipped cream, butter, peanut butter and strawberries are just a few more things that come to mind.

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes | CaliGirlCooking.com

So there you have it folks! The secret to a healthy, balanced breakfast that still tastes like dessert. Now can we agree that this Monday isn’t going to be all that bad?

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes

These chocolate pancakes are full of healthy superfoods, yet still taste incredibly indulgent. The perfect breakfast for any day of the week!

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 9 mini pancakes
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 cup oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 banana
  • 2 scoops protein powder (vanilla or chocolate flavor will work)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons maca powder
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Instructions
  1. Begin heating a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. 

  2. Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender.

  3. Using a quarter cup measure, scoop pancake batter onto heated pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until it gets a nice golden color. 

  4. Remove from pan to a heated plate and continue cooking the rest of the batter.

  5. Top with whatever you prefer! Some ideas are: sliced bananas, sliced strawberries, maple syrup, peanut butter, cacao nibs, shredded coconut and whipped cream. 

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes | CaliGirlCooking.com

Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream

I’m really not messing around with this one.

Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream | CaliGirlCooking.com

This Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream just MIGHT become the one and only “everyday” cake I make forever and ever and ever…It’s dense and moist, with REAL pistachios (none of that pistachio pudding or flavoring) and the richest, most decadent dark chocolate buttercream that has ever graced the bowl of my stand mixer. It is that good.

Let me tell you a little story about how this cake came to be. I often have people asking me if I ever run out of ideas, how I come up with my ideas, etc. The answers: no, I have not run out of recipe ideas (yet, I have two running lists that I am constantly adding to and working off of) and recipe ideas come to me every day, everywhere, at the most unexpected times (hence why I have a list of ideas on my phone and another list in my Google docs.)

This particular idea for Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream was actually inspired by one of my favorite Trader Joe’s trail mixes, Happy Trekking, which is full of almonds, cashews, cranberries, cherries and, yes, pistachios and dark chocolate! Whenever I’d be mindlessly munching on the mix, I’d stop for a second and savor every bite I got that had that heavenly combo of pistachios and dark chocolate. So, I figured why not make a delicious baked good that featured those two perfectly partnered flavors?

Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream | CaliGirlCooking.com

The result was AMAZING and I really hope this flavor combo takes the world by storm, because everyone should be exposed to life-changing things such as Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream.

I originally thought about making this into a cupcake recipe (which you can certainly do, simply bring down the baking time to 18-20 minutes) but then I realized I haven’t really ever posted a full-on CAKE recipe on this here bloggy blog. There were times that I debated making this one of those fancy two- or three-layer cakes with thick slabs of frosting in between each layer, but in the end I decided to keep it simple and less intimidating. I wanted this to be a cake that you can enjoy a slice of (without guilt) every day, rather than having to save it for a special occasion.

The other thing was that a MUST for this Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream was using real pistachios rather than the green pudding mix or other artificial flavoring. I wanted to keep the flavors as close to the trail mix as possible. I did some quick Internet research and found this method on AllRecipes for grinding toasted pistachios with a bit of sugar and then folding them into the batter at the end, which worked out perfectly! Highly recommend.

Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream | CaliGirlCooking.com

Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream | CaliGirlCooking.com

I then used a very similar method for both the batter and buttercream that I used for these Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream, changing a few things up here and there to fit the flavor profiles I was looking for.

The cake comes out incredibly dense and moist which is, to me, the best kind. In fact, if you left off the Dark Chocolate Buttercream, I’m pretty sure you could get away with calling this a perfectly acceptable breakfast cake. Since we’re keeping it simple, I just used an 8-inch round cake pan which make the cake come out nice and thick.

The Dark Chocolate Buttercream comes together quickly and easily, especially if you have a handy-dandy stand mixer. You’ll end up having more frosting than you need for the cake, but is there a problem with that? I don’t think anyone ever objected to having a container of Dark Chocolate Buttercream sitting in their refrigerator for those late-night cravings.

Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream | CaliGirlCooking.com

I made both the cake and the buttercream a day in advance, and frosted it on the morning I wanted to serve it. Just be sure to let the frosting come to room temperature before you try and spread it, or else you’ll end up with a mess and a not-so-pretty Pistachio Cake.

This Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream comes together fairly quickly and easily, which means it would be super easy for you to whip up as a special humpday treat. Who doesn’t need some pistachios and dark chocolate to get you through the week?

Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream | CaliGirlCooking.com

Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hrs 10 mins
 

A perfectly dense and moist everyday cake made using real pistachios and topped with a decadent homemade dark chocolate buttercream.

Course: Dessert
Servings: 8 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the cake:
  • 1 cup pistachio nutmeats, toasted
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the buttercream:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray and cover the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside. 

  2. Next, make the cake. In a food processor, pulse together the pistachios and ½ cup of the sugar until very fine. Set aside.

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1 cup of sugar, almond milk, butter, eggs, Greek yogurt and vanilla using the paddle attachment until a thick paste forms. 

  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. 

  5. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until well combined. Fold in pistachio mix.

  6. Bake in 350-degree oven for 50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Set on a rack to cool for about 20 minutes, then turn out of pan onto rack to cool completely. You may need to use a butter knife or inserted spatula around the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. 

  7. While cake is cooling, make the buttercream. In a clean stand mixer fitted with a clean paddle attachment, combine all of the frosting ingredients. Mix until ingredients form the buttercream frosting texture. 

  8. Either frost the cake once it has cooled completely, or wrap the cake in plastic wrap and place the buttercream in a resealable container in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Be sure to bring the buttercream back to room temperature before attempting to frost the cake. Cake can be kept out at room temperature for up to two days, but for best preservation, keep it refrigerated, which will make it last up to one week.

Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

Little slice of heaven right here.

Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies

I’m bringing you yet another sweet recipe today and I’m not one bit upset about it.

Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies | CaliGirlCooking.com

And you shouldn’t be either! If you didn’t catch my last post, be sure to pop on over to get the 4-1-1 on how I feel about keeping that balance this time of year.  We’re not going to worry about eating a little more than our fair share of indulgent treats this week because, hey, you only live once! We’ll catch up on the healthy stuff for our in-between meals and at the start of the New Year. But today all we need to worry about are these Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies.

And man, do these Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies deserve some talking about. This recipe has been a family favorite for at least 15 years now, which is quite the feat for a family that always love trying all the new recipes and flavor combinations that abound every year. They’re my personal favorite, of the five or so cookie flavors my mom makes every year, so I finally got her to share the recipe with me.

Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies | CaliGirlCooking.com

The recipe my mom shared with me is actually for plain ol’ Chocoholic Cookies, which comes from a book in a cooking murder-mystery series by Diane Mott Davidson called “The Main Corpse.” Yes, there are cooking murder-mysteries and yes, my mom and I have actually made quite a few fantastic recipes from them.

But of course, me being who I am, I couldn’t leave the original recipe alone when it came to making these Chocoholic Cookies in my own kitchen. I had to go ahead and make them Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies. And boy, did they turn out amazing! Oat-y, chocolate-y, GIANT cookies dipped in peppermint white chocolate and topped with crushed candy canes? There’s no way you can go wrong.

Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies | CaliGirlCooking.com

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been making a batch of cookies here and there and popping them in the freezer to have at a moment’s notice for last-minute guests or neighborly gifts. These Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies have definitely been added to the stockpile, although the hubs and I seem to be finding our way into the stash more often than not. We just can’t leave them be! We’ll see how many cookies are left when we actually need them 😉

One thing I really love about these Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies (besides how insanely delicious they are) is how easy they are to make! They’re a simple drop cookie and the dough doesn’t need any time to set up in the freezer or refrigerator. They’re loaded with oats, cocoa powder and chocolate chips, which make every bite a literal party in your mouth. And they’re finished baking in under 15 minutes!

Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies | CaliGirlCooking.com

The hardest part about making this recipe is dipping the cookies in a cloak of peppermint white chocolate after they’re baked and sprinkling on the crushed candy cane pieces. Oh, and then the waiting for the white chocolate to set up….It’s a bit torturous but I have faith in you! They’re totally worth the wait.

Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies | CaliGirlCooking.com

Basically, Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies NEED to be added to your annual cookie rotation ASAP. They’ve been a huge hit with every single person who’s tried them, so I don’t think anyone you gift them to will be disappointed. Make them now, stash them in your freezer, and have delicious chocolate-peppermint-y sweetness ready to go at a moment’s notice. So get on it!

Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies | CaliGirlCooking.com

Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
27 mins
 

Delicious, oat-filled double chocolate cookies dipped in peppermint white chocolate and topped with crushed candy cane pieces.

Course: Dessert
Servings: 2 dozen
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup crushed candy cane pieces
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats and chocolate chips, set aside.

  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the butter and both sugars using the paddle attachment until creamy.

  4. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Add this mixture to the butter mixture and beat until thoroughly combined. The batter will be very stiff at this point.

  5. Stir the milk and vanilla into the beaten eggs, and then add this to the stiff butter mixture, beating until thoroughly combined. Add the oat and chocolate chip mixture and stir until well-mixed. 

  6. Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, drop batter two inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 9-12 minutes, until cooked through. Cool on pan for one minute, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. 

  7. Melt the white chocolate with the peppermint extract and coconut oil in the top of a double boiler (or use a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water). Holding a cooled cookie between your thumb and forefinger, dip the edge into the white chocolate to cover the top third of the cookie. Place on a rack over parchment paper and immediately sprinkle on some crushed candy cane pieces (before the white chocolate dries completely.)

  8. Let white chocolate dry completely (this will take an hour or so) and then store in a re-sealable container with pieces of parchment paper in between to keep them from sticking.

Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies | CaliGirlCooking.com

So freakin’ festive!

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies | CaliGirlCooking.com

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel

Are we ready to think about something other than turkey yet?

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel | CaliGirlCooking.com

I know, I know, I’m jumping the gun a bit seeing as Thanksgiving isn’t until tomorrow, but I bet you’ve already got the prep of your bird well under way, potatoes ready for mashing, and pumpkin pies baking in the oven. Time to start thinking about meals for the rest of the weekend, am I right?

We all know that the eating frenzy that is known as Thanksgiving does not end on Thursday night. No, no, no, it runs straight through Friday, Saturday and Sunday, whether you’re crazy enough to hit the Black Friday sales or digging out your Christmas decorations. Which is why we need something like these Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel in our arsenal. A quick, easy, tasty breakfast loaded with a double dose of chocolate? I like it. I like it a lot.

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel | CaliGirlCooking.com

We’re heading up to the Bay Area tonight, so I’ve spent the last couple of days cooking up whatever we’d be able to transport easily. The hubs and I are lucky that we can drive to our Thanksgiving destination, so we usually load a cooler or two in the car with treats that we’ve made to help take some of the cooking pressure off of our parents. This time around, I’m bringing up some Sweet Potato Casserole Babka, a delicious Pumpkin-Walnut Pate I just whipped up (recipe coming to the blog soon!), Jessica’s White Cheddar, Toasted Almond and Crispy Sage Cheese Ball, and of course some of these Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel!

Let me tell you a little bit about these muffins, because they are (sing it with me) “FAAAB-U-LOUSSS!!” They also happen to be the very first muffin recipe I’ve posted on this here blog. Can you believe it? I can’t, seeing as muffins (specifically, muffin tops) are one of my favorite types of baked goods. I kid you not, I’m that gal who will go buy a muffin strictly for its huge, crunchy top and discard the rest. My own special kind of balance, I guess?

The great news about these muffins, though, is that you are going to want to eat the whole. entire. thing. How can you not when they are laced with huge chocolate chunks, fresh cranberries, and an oh-so-perfect hint of orange? Um, yea, did I mention they’re also topped with the crunchiest, chocolatey-est chocolate streusel of all time?

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel | CaliGirlCooking.com

Quick confession: I actually used the chocolate streusel recipe from this Pumpkin Chocolate Crumb Cake by Hungry Girl Por Vida, and just cut it in half to use on the muffins. I’ve made this Crumb Cake two years in a row (a rare feat in the life of a food blogger) and it is soooo delicious. I especially love that it involves both cocoa powder AND chocolate chunks, so you get a double dose of that rich flavor. I knew it would be the perfect accessory for muffins already laced with chocolate chunks and cranberries.

The batter comes together quickly and easily, with all of the basic ingredients. And although I used fresh cranberries in this recipe, you could easily sub in frozen, as sometimes those are a bit easier to come by.

These Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel are truly so delicious and the perfect precursor to a day of chopping down your Christmas tree or watching football and chowing on leftovers. They’re also the perfect way to segue into the Christmas season, because Christmas means all things cranberry and chocolate, right?

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel | CaliGirlCooking.com

One final note: these muffins are perfect candidates for a little freezer action. Just be sure to freeze them in a solid container (and then transfer to something like a Ziploc if necessary afterwards) so as not to lose all of that delicious chocolate crumble on top!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m hoping to start my holiday weekend a little early with a lunch date with my honey. I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving, full of quality time with friends, family and other loved ones. In a time of such political upheaval and uncertainty, it’s important to remember all that we have to be thankful for! XO

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel | CaliGirlCooking.com

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

A festive muffin for holiday breakfasts, loaded with chocolate chunks, fresh cranberries and topped with a double chocolate streusel!

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 muffins
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the chocolate streusel:
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons chilled butter, cubed
For the muffins:
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (okay to use almond milk or other milk alternative)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh (or frozen) cranberries
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
Instructions
  1. First, make the chocolate streusel. In a small mixing bowl, combine all streusel ingredients. Blend using fingers (or a pastry blender) until mixture resembles wet sand and butter is at least in pea size chunks. Set aside.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners or spray with cooking spray and set aside. 

  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars together until mixture is light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add in the eggs, milk, vanilla and orange zest until well combined. Set aside. 

  4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, spices and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the stand mixer and mix on medium speed until combined. Gently fold in the cranberries and chocolate chunks. 

  5. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each cup about ¾ of the way up. Top each muffin with a generous amount of streusel.

  6. Bake in 350 degree oven for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in pan before turning out onto a rack to cool completely. 

Recipe Notes

Streusel recipe from Hungry Girl Por Vida’s Pumpkin Chocolate Crumb Cake.

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

Breakfast never looked so good.

Addicting S’mores Granola Clusters

Because oats surrounded by graham crackers, chocolate chips and toasty marshmallows are healthy, right?

S'mores Granola Clusters | CaliGirl Cooking

Well, if you ask me, there are certainly worse after-school snacks than these S’mores Granola Clusters. (Says the girl who’s not even in school, nor has any children that are in school, but hey, we all need delicious, chocolatey, gooey clusters in our lives every now and again.)

My idea for this recipe certainly evolved and changed as I started to think of the logistics of it all. You see, my first idea was to make a straight up s’mores granola, but then I realized that with both the chocolate and marshmallows highly subject to melting, making a classic granola would be a little difficult unless I could find mini graham crackers, chocolate chips and marshmallows that I could just add to the oats after toasting them. But where’s the fun in that?

So I decided to embrace the melting qualities of the ingredients that make s’mores so delicious, and turn the recipe into granola clusters instead. And, um, take the S’mores Granola Clusters away from me now because I can’t stop reaching into the Ziploc for me. Hellllppp!

S'mores Granola Clusters | CaliGirl Cooking

But really, don’t, because I want to eat S’mores Granola Clusters for ever and ever and ever. Summer, winter, fall, spring, doesn’t matter. We don’t need no outdoor fire pit for these beauts!

I may or may not have already made second or third batches to share with everyone I know since school started last week, and did I mention they’re the perfect after-school snack? They also just so happen to be the perfect beach-going snack, the perfect “semi-healthy” dessert, and the perfect “it’s 11:00am and I’m starving but it’s too early for lunch yet” snack (please tell me that happens to other people besides just me?)

S'mores Granola Clusters | CaliGirl Cooking

But before I get into how we make these addicting S’mores Granola Clusters (because it really won’t take long), tell me, how was your weekend? Did you do anything fun? Go anywhere exciting? I’m trying to forget the fact that we were supposed to be in Yosemite for our annual trip this weekend, so please let me live vicariously through you and all your fun adventures! I’m soooo looking forward to when the hubs is healed and we can pick up our weekend warrior tendencies once again. So many things to do and places to see!

Okay, getting back to the S’mores Granola Clusters. Really, the hardest part about this recipe is mixing up the toasted oat mixture, and even that is so easy! I riffed off of my favorite granola recipe to make a slightly less sweet version of toasted oats (I figured they’d get enough sweetness from the chocolate and marshmallows) and of course I left out nuts so that my nut-free friends can enjoy this recipe as well.

S'mores Granola Clusters | CaliGirl Cooking

We toss together the toasted oat mixture and pop it in the oven for a good 30 minutes, stirring once to make sure all of our oats get an even toast.

S'mores Granola Clusters | CaliGirl Cooking

Then, for the last 15 minutes, we toss in the graham cracker pieces, marshmallows and chocolate chips. Because we just can’t call anything a “s’more” without some golden, toasted marshmallows, we turn the broiler on high for just the last couple of minutes.  Trust me, don’t skip this step. Even though we end up mixing up the granola to make the clusters, you’ll definitely notice that delicious nutty flavor that only comes from marshmallows experiencing that close call with a direct source of heat.

S'mores Granola Clusters | CaliGirl Cooking

That’s it! I couldn’t resist eating some of the clusters while they were still warm (s’mores flavor to the max!) but they maintain their perfectly toasted, sweet, salty flavor even after the clusters have cooled. Trust me, you can enjoy these S’mores Granola Clusters up to 3-4 days later if you keep them in a resealable plastic bag or Tupperware container. But you know what, I don’t think they’ll last that long 😉

S'mores Granola Clusters | CaliGirl Cooking

S’mores Granola Clusters

10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: Makes 6 cups

Your favorite fireside treat turned into an everyday snack. Crunchy oats covered with toasted marshmallows, melted chocolate and graham cracker pieces.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 310 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the first five ingredients (oats through sea salt.) Spread oat mixture on a large jelly roll pan and place in oven. Set the timer for 20 minutes.
  3. At the 20 minute mark, open the oven and gently stir the oats. This will help ensure they get evenly toasted. Set the timer for 10 more minutes.
  4. Once the timer goes off, remove the pan from the oven (keeping the oven at 310 degrees) and sprinkle the chocolate chips, graham cracker pieces and mini marshmallows evenly over the oats. Return the pan to the oven and set the timer for 2 ½ minutes.
  5. After 2 ½ minutes, turn the oven’s broiler on high and set another 2 ½ minutes on the timer. Once timer goes off this final time, remove pan from the oven. Immediately stir up the granola so that clusters form.
  6. Once cool, if there are any extra-large clusters, feel free to break them up into smaller pieces. Store for 3-4 days in a resealable plastic bag or Tupperware.
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http://www.caligirlcooking.com/2016/08/29/addicting-smores-granola-clusters/

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Addicting S'mores Granola Clusters | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

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