Luxury Chocolate Coconut Granola (Vegan)

There’s nothing more cereal-ously satisfying to see that many of you still enjoy making this healthy, homemade maple granola for breakfast.  For serious chocolate and coconut lovers, I’ve now taken it to a nutty new level. Make way for a luxury dark Chocolate Coconut Granola with plump dried cranberries, toasted brazil nuts, seeds – all wrapped in maple syrup and then melted dark chocolate. Moreover, this granola just so happens to be vegan.

The recipe is now demonstrated on a short video on my YouTube Channel HERE!

Jump to Recipe

Healthy Chocolate Coconut Granola

No Added Sugar

This started out as a basis of a recipe I saw in a French magazine years ago. However, it was unnecessarily overloaded with sugar. You may know I have a sweet tooth – but not THAT sweet. Too much sugar can totally kill a dessert or a macaron filling overloaded with it. Likewise, for breakfast, I prefer sugar kept to the minimum. There’s NO added sugar in this!

When it comes to granola, the beauty of making homemade is you can control this.  By adding natural sugars via healthy, dried fruits and maple syrup, there is NO ADDED SUGAR. Add the dried fruits after baking so that the juicy fruit retains all of its healthy nutrients.

chocolate coconut granola vegan

Gluten Free Homemade Granola

If you follow a strict diet or you are Celiac, please do ensure that your oats are specifically labelled as being GLUTEN FREE.

Is Coconut Oil Good or Bad?

Coconut oil is basically a good saturated fat oil. Ensure, however, you check the label when buying that it’s both cold-pressed and unrefined.

When is Granola NOT Vegan?

Making this for somebody following a strictly vegan diet and worried about granola being 100% vegan?
Granola is not vegan when honey or milk chocolate is used – it’s as simple as that. Also ensure that there are no milk additives in your cocoa powder.

Chocolate Coconut Granola for Vegans

If you are following a strict vegan diet, use vegan dark chocolate for the recipe. Good quality chocolate chips are good, as are dark chocolate chips. If you’re not following a vegan diet, however, you may prefer to use milk chocolate which will work well.

chocolate coconut vegan granola

Quality Chocolate – Best Tips for Baking Chocolate Granola

How do you bake a good quality chocolate granola? The the best tip I have for you is adding the chocolate AFTER baking. Bake it together in the oven and the chocolate will be burnt – who wants that? Burnt chocolate is incredibly bitter and what a waste of your best chocolate! Instead, melt it gently and give it the respect it deserves.

Either wait until your granola cools down completely and add chocolate chips or, my favourite method, as soon as it comes out of the oven, scatter over your chocolate chips, drops or grated dark chocolate and leave it to melt into the hot cereal.  As soon as the chocolate melts, stir the granola around again to mix it well together. Leave to cool (even quicker if 15 minutes in the fridge) and voilà – a gourmet chocolate coconut granola is ready for you to fill a cookie jar!

Chocolate coconut granola vegan

Healthy Nuts & Seeds

Brazil nuts are particularly good for selenium (great for memory). Just 2 brazil nuts a day will have you covered – just don’t forget to buy them!

Sesame seeds (poppy seeds or flaxseeds) are good natural sources of calcium. All this makes for a HEALTHY THYROID too – and, if you’re like me without a thyroid, it’s a great way to keep a daily healthy supply of essential nuts and seeds.

Dark chocolate coconut granola

Healthy Homemade Granola Variations

To vary the flavours, try with a mixture of almonds like in this plain Maple Granola without the chocolate

or with a hint of warm spices such as cinnamon, gingerbread spice or pumpkin spice for a spiced festive granola version for the holidays.

Looking for more healthy homemade breakfast cereals?

Try my friend, Christina’s simple Alpen copycat recipe with half the sugar of the regular popular muesli.

 

Chocolate Coconut Granola (Vegan)

5 from 4 votes
chocolate coconut granola vegan
Chocolate Coconut Granola
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

Homemade dark chocolate granola with coconut, brazil nuts, cranberries and sesame seeds with no added sugar, just natural ingredients to sweeten this luxury start to the day, stuck together with the best melted chocolate.

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Snack
Cuisine: French
Keyword: chocolate granola, granola, vegan granola
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 280 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 300 g (10.5oz/3 cups) jumbo oats (if on a strict GF diet, ensure they're labelled gluten free)
  • 100 g (3.5oz/1 cup) brazil nuts roughly chopped (or mix with walnuts)
  • 50 g (2oz/1/2 cup) sunflower seeds
  • 25 g (2 tbsp) sesame seeds (or flax seeds)
  • 50 g (2oz) dessicated coconut
  • pinch salt (fleur de sel)
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Van Houten)
  • 75 g (3 tbsp) coconut oil, melted (unrefined/cold-pressed) or neutral oil
  • 100 ml (5 tbsp) maple syrup
To add after baking:
  • 100 g (3.5oz/1 cup) dried plump cranberries (or golden raisins)
  • 125 g (4.5oz) dark chocolate chips, drops, or grated chocolate (Vegan if necessary)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan)/350°F (Gas 4).

  2. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients except the chocolate and dried fruits. Mix well until completely coated in the coconut oil and maple syrup.

  3. Cover a baking tray with baking paper (or a silicone mat). Spread out the oat mixture evenly. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, turn over the mixture and return to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes.

  4. As soon as out of the oven, immediately sprinkle over the chocolate chips/drops/grated chocolate and the dried fruits over the hot granola (see note*). After about 5 minutes, turn over the granola to mix in the melted chocolate and dried fruits. Leave to cool for the chocolate to set either on the counter at room temperature or for 15 minutes in the fridge. Transfer to a sealed container when cool.

Recipe Notes

Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy at its best within 10 days.

* Quicker altervative: wait until the granola cools completely then add chocolate chips and fruits (the result is different - no clumps achieved with melted chocolate but still good).

Serve with almond milk, fresh berries or with homemade rhubarb compote for a vegan breakfast or any of your favourite vegan accompaniments.
Otherwise, if it doesn't need to be vegan, enjoy with yoghurt, milk or Skyr (we're seeing this appearing from Iceland in French supermarkets all of a sudden - it's great!)

See the short Video Demonstration here.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

Dubarry Cauliflower Cream Soup

We’re going savoury today with the creamiest, crème de la crème of French soups.
Known as Crème Dubarry or Velouté du Barry, Dubarry Cauliflower Cream Soup is a simple French gourmet classic served in many chic Parisian restaurants. For a soup, it also has a deliciously steamy royal romance behind it, which simmered away between Versailles and Paris in the 18th century.

Dubarry Cauliflower Cream Soup

What is Dubarry – or Du Barry in French Cuisine?

Turning to my French Larousse dictionary, anything called ‘Du Barry‘ in French cooking contains cauliflower – from a simple salad to the most famous Crème Dubarry, often served on winter menus in chic Parisian restaurants.

Why Dubarry? It’s a smooth, rich cauliflower cream soup or silky velouté that gets its name from the Comtesse du Barrywho adored the humble winter chou-fleur.

Trust the French to bring cauliflower and a hungry royal love affair together!

Comtesse Du Barry

Who was the Comtesse du Barry?

The Comtesse du Barry was the last mistress and favourite of King Louis XV. (Not to be confused with the chain of French boutiques, Comtesse du Barry, known in and around Paris for its gourmet tinned meals for those who would rather have foie gras or truffles on toast than baked beans.)

The Countess was renowned for her beauty, her blond curls, her blue eyes, her love for luxury – and her way of wrapping her little finger around aristocratic, influential men.

Antoine and I were intrigued to visit part of the residence given to her by Louis XV, where she stayed in Louveciennes in Les Yvelines, just 10km west of Paris. Alas, the domaine is now private and not open to the public – but once a year for just a couple of hours, guided visits are arranged in May by the Office de Tourisme de Boucles de Seine.  As photos were not permitted inside the residence, my photos are restricted to the lush grounds.

Louveciennes was host to painters such as Madame Vigée Le Brun (who painted 3 portraits of Madame du Barry) and the Impressionists. Camille Pissaro also later lived here and Sisley painted many landscapes, which shows not that much has changed outside her residence.

It’s another lovely walk in the area, as part of the 4 Impressionist Walks by the Seine (see my post on the Renoir walk from Chatou to Carrières-sur-Seine).

Outside Madame du Barry’s residence was the enormous pipe – still camouflaged today – in the lush countryside.

Apparently the noise of the water from the pipes was rather distressing for Madame; it transported water to the Versailles fountains from the Seine river via the Machine du Marly, an extremely incredible feat of engineering to cope with Louis XIV’s luxurious tastes for the palace.

Madame du Barry to Countess

The Countess wasn’t always a countess. Raised as Jeanne Bécu in a convent (since her mother had a dangerous liaison with a Franciscan monk), she then worked her way up from hairdresser to haberdashery in Paris. It was the wealthy, influential casino owner, Jean-Baptiste du Barry that changed her direction as Mademoiselle.

Jeanne became his mistress, and became mistress to others too in royal circles – right up to Louis XV. One problem: she wasn’t appreciated as being a non-aristocrat in French society and the king couldn’t see her unless she had a title. The King solved this by ensuring her marriage to Du Barry’s brother, the Count Guillaume du Barry in 1768, giving her title of Countess – even if she was and is still referred to as Madame.

After King Louis XV’s death in 1774, Madame du Barry wasn’t permitted to stay in the court (Queen Marie-Antoinette thought of her as rather common – read vulgar) and so she stayed here, continuing to lavishly entertain in her particularly impressive oak-panelled dining room.

Countess Amorous Royal Chocolate Drinks

It was apparently under this enormous tilleul or lime tree that the elderly King Louis XV and young Madame du Barry would sip chocolat together in Louveciennes, not far from Versailles. Although the luxury of chocolate (as a drink) was brought to the French court via Louis XIII then Louis XIV, it was Louis XV that was reputed to have loved chocolate the most.

Considered an aphrodisiac drink, the king prepared his own love potion chocolate drink in his appartments in Versailles, adding an egg yolk to his chocolate recipe to ensure its extra velvety, rich texture – see the recipe here, via Versailles Palace.

Dubarry French Cauliflower Cream

Dubarry Cream of Cauliflower

Keeping with rich, velvety textures, Countess du Barry’s chef, Louis Signot, created a soup with Jeanne’s favourite vegetable. It was so simple yet sophisticated enough for royal approval. It’s not clear what is the original recipe but looking around in cookbooks (in vain), French gourmet dictionaries, online, and even from French recipe booklets received from our local market there are two versions of Dubarry Cauliflower Cream Soup.

One is based on milk, cream and potatoes; the other Crème Dubarry is based on a white roux (butter and flour) with added egg yolks and cream at the end of cooking. Seen as Louis XV’s chocolate potions included egg yolks, I’m guessing the King cracked for the latter version so I’m sticking with this. The vegetable market’s booklet recipe, however, used a whopping 6 egg yolks. Instead I developed the recipe as follows, as it’s silky enough without being too overwhelmingly rich to start off a meal.

How to Prepare Cauliflower Cream Soup

This is the first time I’ve made a white roux for a soup. Normally I wouldn’t add flour to soup and use a potato to thicken it instead. However, for the sake of authenticity with French recipes, let’s make that roux by adding butter, gently cooking the leeks and adding the flour to make a paste then stir in the stock and tiny cauliflower florets.

All of the bitter stalk is discarded. Small, digestible florets are used, cleaned first in a mixture of water with a dash of vinegar. Don’t forget to keep the smallest florets aside for the garniture.

Once mixed or blended using a stick blender or ‘giraffe‘ (I love how some of my French friends call it this!), create the liaison (pun totally intended!).  A mix of the egg yolks and cream are gradually blended into the soup by adding some of the soup liquid to the cream, then adding the whole lot to create that rich, velvety Dubarry cream.

Dubarry Cauliflower Cream Soup

Dubarry Cauliflower Cream Soup Garniture

The garniture for serving Dubarry Cauliflower Cream Soup is just as important as the cream itself, it appears. There are 2 simple classic garnitures: finely chopped chervil and tiny cauliflower florets (pre-cooked à l’anglaise – English-style in boiling water).

That’s it. My personal preference is not to cook the cauliflower garniture at all. Just sprinkle with the smallest of florets and the heat of the soup and the raw crudité-style cauliflower adds a magnificent crunch! I also finely grate a cauliflower floret on top of the soup too.

Seared scallops are another possibility. If you’ve seen my recipe for Curried Cauliflower soup, I got the idea of adding seared scallops when tasting wine under January hailstones in Clos Veogeot at the annual Burgundy wine festival, la fête de Saint Vincent. So add scallops if you fancy – but for royalty, the good old classic cauliflower with chervil or parsley will do!

 

Even although the Parisian gerbet macaron wasn’t yet created in Paris yet, there’s nothing stopping you from serving the Dubarry Cauliflower Cream with a mini curry macaron, is there? The recipe is in the savoury macarons chapter from my book, Mad About Macarons! I’m sure the Countess would have approved.

This has turned out to be a long post for a few wee bowls of soup – but don’t you love a delicious French love story behind it?

 

Dubarry Cauliflower Cream

Dubarry Cauliflower Cream Soup Recipe

5 from 5 votes
Dubarry French Cauliflower Cream Soup
Dubarry Cauliflower Cream Soup
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

A rich, creamy French classic soup or velouté that was created for Madame du Barry, King Louis XV's last and favourite mistress, who adored cauliflower

Course: Appetizer, Light Lunch, Soup, Starter
Cuisine: French
Keyword: cauliflower cream, cauliflower soup, Crème Dubarry
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 160 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 700 g (1.5lb) organic cauliflower (prepared after stalk/leaves removed)
  • 2 leeks (white part only) sliced
  • 55 g (2oz) butter (unsalted)
  • 2 tbsp flour (all purpose)
  • 1 litre chicken stock * (stock mixed with hot water)
  • 2 egg yolks organic
  • 100 g (3.5oz) half-fat cream or crème fraîche
  • Fresh chervil or flat-leaf parsley optional, for decor
  • 1/2 tsp each of salt (fleur de sel) & freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Remove the bitter stalk and leaves from the cauliflower, reserving the florets. Wash in a mixture of water with a dash of vinegar and set aside. Clean and slice the leeks.

  2. In a large, heavy pot, melt the butter then sweat the leeks in it until translucent but not brown. After 4-5 minutes, add the flour and stir together well until a smooth paste forms. Gradually whisk in the hot stock. Add the cauliflower florets, setting aside a few of the raw, smallest florets for decor. Bring to the boil.

  3. Cover, turn down the heat and leave to simmer gently for about 25 minutes.

  4. Towards the end of cooking, in a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the cream, salt and pepper. Add a ladle-full of the soup's hot liquid and whisk together. Using a hand-mixer, blitz the soup until well blended. Gradually whisk in the yolk and cream mixture until the soup is smooth. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

  5. Serve topped with tiny raw cauliflower florets, chopped fresh chervil or parsley.

Recipe Notes

*  fresh chicken stock is best for this recipe, although I cheat and buy frozen stock from our local gourmet frozen French food store, Picard.

Decorate with a few tiny reserved (raw) cauliflower florets and sprigs of fresh chervil or parsley. 

Update (March 2020): Try the same recipe using broccoli - it's fabulous!

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com