I don't usually have granola on the reg', but every once in a while it it's a nice treat and brings me back to my childhood when cold cereal was a mainstay (still working on a gluten-free cinnamon toast crunch re-creation).
I almost called this recipe "sugar free" but let's be real, maple syrup and dried fruit are both sources of sugar, albeit "natural" ones.
However, this recipe is a great option when compared to store bought granolas, which are loaded with sweeteners.
And while on the topic, sugar is sugar, whether it comes from honey, blackstrap molasses, or maple syrup. Sure, coconut sugar is less processed than white sugar, but just don't kid yourself that since it's "natural" you can have more of it. Some sugar molecules like glucose, lactose, and fructose have slight differences in how they're metabolized, however sugar = sugar.
Just the sweet taste, whether from honey or Splenda, can promote a psychological response that makes you want more sweet things
...and before you know it, it's just you, a spoon, and Coconut Bliss chocolate peanut butter ice cream (yup, that's me!). And I don't think indulging in sweet treats every once in a while is a bad thing, however for me, once sugar cravings start, it's like an annoying monkey on my back, constantly bugging for its next sweet fix. Sugar, it's a slippery slope!
Okay, back to the greatness of this granola!
There are a few key parts to remember for homemade granola. The first is not over-baking it. I've gone through many a burnt granolas, and it's mostly because it doesn't look done when the timer sounds. Just trust. The oats might not look or feel crunchy, but they crisp up during the cooling process.
Second, maple syrup. It just gives it that special taste that honey simply can't do.
Third, add the dried fruit pieces last and mix in with the cooled oats. This helps so they don't harden and stick in your back teeth ( you're welcome :)
Lastly, use whatever ingredients you have on hand, and serve with homemade nut milk (blend the nut milk with a banana for a real breakfast-y taste, or Cheerios-with-sliced banana nostalgia!)
- 2 cups gluten free oats
- 1/2 cup raw nuts
- 1/4 cup saw seeds
- 1/2 cup dried fruit (goji berries, dried cherries, dried blueberries)
- 2-3 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- large pinch sea salt
- 1-2 tsp cinnamon
- Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.
- Mix all ingredients except for dried fruit in a bowl. Either pre-melt the coconut oil, or put it in chunks and mix with your hands (it'll melt).
- Place mixture on a cookie sheet, spread out evenly and not over-crowded, on the top rack of the oven.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes.
- Take out and let cool.
- Toss in the dried fruit.
- Enjoy with homemade nut milk!
Granola with goji berries, coconut chips, and quinoa puffs.