June 19, 2011

My Go-To Granola

As I've mentioned before, I make granola often, but often, it goes undocumented.  I like to play around with different ingredeints and flavors depending on the season, but that doesn't mean I don't play favorites.  This is the recipe I keep coming back to; it's my standby.

I think I like this particular combination so much because it's filled with some of my favorite things: almonds, coconut, buckwheat, pumpkin seeds, and usually, maple syrup.   It's also extra crunchy, which I love, thanks to the buckwheat groats.  For this batch, I decided to experiment with a new sweetener I found on sale at Whole Foods: Coconut nectar.

Coconut nectar is a low-glycemic (GI of 35) sweetener that contains 17 amino acids and has a nearly neutral pH.   It's derived from the sap of coconut blossoms and the brand I purchased, Coconut Secret, is also 100% Raw, Vegan, and Gluten-Free. Needless to say, I was excited to try it, especially because I love natural coconut flavor.  Unfortunately, once I got home, I realized that "Coconut Nectar does not have a coconutty flavor." Bummer.

For those of you who are curious, if I had to compare the flavor of coconut nectar to anything it would probably be barley malt syrup or perhaps dark agave nectar.  It has a deep, not quite caramely flavor that I didn't particularly take to.  My verdict is that while the nectar is a worthy product, I definitely prefer the flavor of maple syrup.  So I'll be sticking with the deliciously reliable grade b maple syrup for my usual granola, but I'm still going to play around with other uses for the remainder of my coconut nectar.  As for this granola, recently I've been enjoying it mixed in a bowl with chopped apples and raisins and topped with almond milk.  Breakfast or snack perfection.

Go-To Granola

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup raw buckwheat groats
1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
2 1/2 tablespoons grade b maple syrup, coconut nectar, or other liquid sweetener
2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon ground chia or ground flaxseed (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of sea salt

Preheat your oven to 325 F.  Mix the first four ingredeints together in a large bowl.  In a small bowl (use the same one you melted the coconut oil in), whisk the last 5 ingredeints together and let sit for a few minutes to thicken if using ground chia/ flax.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry until evenly coated.  Spread mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20- 25 minutes, stirring every 10- 15 minutes, until golden.  Let cool and store in a sealed container.

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