Coconut, Cacao, and Chia Granola

by autumn on April 15, 2012

At least candy doesn’t have an agenda. Sure, it can be processed, full of sugar, preservatives, scary chemicals, and artificial colors, but for the most part it doesn’t claim to be anything other than all those nasty things. And if it does, I don’t want anything to do with it. I am skeptical of foods that have a lot to say about themselves. You’ll understand then why I initially gave chia seeds the stink eye. Chia seeds think they’re pretty darn great.

Just because I’m stubborn, I really didn’t want to like them. Well, I’ve been totally delighted with them.  When combined with liquid they’ve got magical gel-inducing properties, dry they have a nice snap. They’re quite beautiful close up and have added a science experiment-like quality to my cooking lately. I’ve loved mixing them into stuff and just seeing how they behave. As for the health benefits, I’ll let you decide for yourself. The lady with the CVS basket full of discount Easter candy is hardly qualified to be giving health advice. I will tell you that they’re pretty and fun.

Thanks to this granola from Orangette,  I’m currently in a granola phase. Because store-bought gluten-free granola is both expensive and mostly blah, I think I had forgotten how good granola could be. Inspired by the “grown-up” characteristics (olive oil?!) of Molly’s recipe, I made my own granola with sophisticated tastes: cashews, those darn chia seeds, the coconut flakes I’m obsessed with, and finally cacao nibs, which take on an amazing savory depth when baked.

Coconut, Cacao, and Chia Granola


  • 1 1/2 cups (150 g) gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 cup (50 g) coconut flakes
  • 1 cup (125 g) unsalted cashews
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) cacao nibs
  • 2 T (20 g) chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup liquid coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup agave
  • 1 t vanilla extract

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Stir the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk the wet ingredients (the coconut oil, agave, and vanilla extract) together in a small bowl.
  4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until everything is evenly coated.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes then stir.
  6. Bake for another 25-30, or until golden brown then remove from the oven and let cool completely without stirring.
  7. Store in an airtight container.


  • While making this, I discovered that my spare jar of coconut oil on my top cupboard shelf was liquid, while the open jar on my bottom shelf was closer to solid. I wish I could call that a pro-tip, but it was a complete accident.
  • Letting the granola bake then cool without stirring makes it clumpy just like store-bought. If you don’t like the clumps, stir away!
  • I didn’t try making this with another liquid sweetener (ie: maple or honey), so let me know if you try it. My guess is that they would also yield great results.


Autumn Giles is the creator of Autumn Makes & Does and the co-host of the Alphabet Soup Podcast.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 carrie @plums in the icebox April 15, 2012 at 7:33 pm

yay! i love chia. i first bought them at the farmer’s market in las cruces, from this table of mennonites who always sold bread. the mennonite teenager gave me the hard sell and i haven’t looked back since!


2 autumn April 15, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Ha! Back home the Hutterites rule the farmer’s markets, although I don’t think they were ever pushing chia.


3 tigress April 16, 2012 at 11:55 am

i have been on a granola making kick myself. so much better, and more economical than store bought. your version looks awesome! i am in love with coconut flakes also and found a wonderful source for the best ones i’ve ever tasted. they were selling 5lb bags for 19.39!


4 autumn April 18, 2012 at 12:51 am

Oooh. Thanks for sharing that resource, Tigress. There’s been an inexplicable (but great!) deal on them at my neighborhood grocery store lately, although still not as cheap as that…


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