Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Maple Nut Granola, Oat-free

I have been mourning the loss of granola in my life ever since I discovered that uncooked oats (or dry cooked as the case may be with granola) don't sit well with me.  I don't think I can overstate how nice and convenient it is to have a cold breakfast option, especially when traveling.  As we don't eat store bought cold cereal (almost impossible to find a kind that meets all of our allergy requirements and is filling), granola is our only option.  And then, to have that snatched away from me?  Not cool.

Of course now with Paleo being the Next Big Food Thing, there are a number of nut and seed based granola recipes to be found on the internet.  I was checking out a handful, trying to come up with a recipe that called to me, when I decided that I would make my own based on my favorite oat based version in King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking.  The recipe took very little tweaking.  I cut down on the sweetener (as there were not 7 cups of oats to absorb it) and subbed the wheat germ with flax seed meal.  I also added some crispy brown rice cereal to lighten it up on the texture front and thus making it not paleo.  Can't say I am sorry about this.  Also, since it is mostly nuts, I baked it for only 1 hour at low temperature vs. the 2 originally stated in the recipe.  Two hours would have resulted in burnt nuts.  Not tasty.

I used to think that I didn't really like dried fruits in my granola.  As it turns out, I just needed the right sort of dried fruit.  To me, the key is balance.  I like tart fruits (my favorites are dried cherries, cranberries, and pluots) to counteract the sweetness.

Maple Nut Granola, Oat-free

1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped cashews
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups puffed brown rice cereal
1 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pluots
1 cup chopped cranberries
1 cup chopped raisins

Preheat the oven to 250.

In a large bowl, mix together the coconut, nuts, salt, cereal, and flax seed.  In a separate bowl, melt the coconut oil and then add the maple syrup and vanilla.  Pour this over the larger bowl with the nuts and seeds.  Mix well.

Pour the granola onto two, parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake in the oven for 1 hour, occasionally stirring.  Let the granola cool, and then add in the chopped fruit.  Place in an airtight container, preferably a glass one from your childhood.*

Yields something shy of 12 cups.

*My mom kept all of these Skippy peanut butter jars from my childhood.  Growing up the jars housed peanut butter obviously, and then homemade dried fruit and fruit leather.  Now, I find them to be the perfect size for whipping up smoothies in the morning and of course, holding batches of granola.  They are a full quart size, not like those misnamed quart mason jars which really only hold 3 1/2 cups.  Also, the mouths are wonderfully wide.  

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