Snack: Dark Chocolate Strawberry Granola (inspired by Love Crunch)
Brain booster rating: 6 out of 10, higher if you eat in a bowl with milk for protein! But even without, the sugar is a great pick me up and the chocolate a slight caffeine boost.
Equipment: Large mixing bowl, large spoon, baking sheet
Ingredients: Oats, dried unsweetened coconut, maple syrup, butter, salt, cinnamon, freeze-dried strawberries and semi-sweet chocolate chips
As a creative writing major I often find myself working away on stories late into the night. I have a habit when I’m writing to break up my progress with little treats.
This always involves many cups of tea, hard candies, and more often than not, lollipops to suck on when I’m ruminating about a plot or new character. But when I’m looking for something to munch on, granola is always my go to. It’s sweet, crunchy, and is just as delicious with milk or without. My favorite packaged granola is Love Crunch. It combines perfectly toasted, coconut-y granola with dark chocolate and freeze dried raspberries and strawberries. It’s definitely my favorite out-of-the-box granola, but to be honest, I really prefer homemade. Granola is so easy to make and provides endless opportunities for improvisation. That means you can tailor your mixture to be exactly what you’re in the mood for.
I like to make a big batch to have on hand, especially when the semester gets under way, and I know I’ll be looking for late night study snacks.
Here’s the most recent batch: my regular tried and true granola base but added coconut, dark chocolate chips and freeze-dried strawberries too. This is a perfect late night treat, a little sweeter and more decadent than your morning granola, perhaps, with the added dark chocolate, and in my mind it’s the perfect late night study snack, ready to comfort and inspire when you’re at a standstill with your work.
Valentines’ Day is right around the corner and I think this makes a great, unique homemade gift, whether it’s for a special someone or for your best friend. You can doll it up easily in a cute Mason jar wrapped with cut-up paper hearts!
Katie is a senior at Johns Hopkins University where she studies creative writing and spends an inordinate amount of time “procrastibaking” for her friends. Her favorite condiment is sriracha and she enjoys exploring the Baltimore restaurant scene on the weekends.
Dark Chocolate Strawberry Granola (inspired by Love Crunch)
Yields 9 cups
4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup maple syrup
½ cup melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup freeze-dried strawberries in small pieces
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 300°F. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, coconut, maple syrup, butter, salt and cinnamon. Stir well. Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 45-55 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes so it doesn’t burn. The granola is ready when it is toasted and looks golden brown. Let cool completely, then transfer to a bowl and toss with strawberries and chocolate chips.