maple almond granola

This is the best granola I’ve ever made. 
I am the kind of girl who never makes the same recipe twice, I am always on the quixotic search for the best recipe out there (see recipe showdown).  However, this is my new “go-to” granola recipe (and this girl doesn’t do “go-to” recipes!).  

So I was telling you all about how I have justified that making granola as vital to my success in school.  I made my honey bunches of oats granola, a few days ago which was very crumbly, aromatic, and perfect for sprinkling on yogurt. But after drilling through 300+ Chinese flashcards, I was craving something with body.  I needed some real, chunky, clumpy granola.  So another batch was definitely necessary.  I tried a few granola recipes that I had lying around the kitchen, but they all turned out crispy and very un-clumpy… :'( I was about to give up and actually do some studying…

Then I found the one. 

This perfectly sweet, and super chunky recipe stole my heart at first bite.  The addition of almond flour, egg whites, and coconut oil, combined with a low oven temperature and slow baking time makes for the most magical, clumpy granola I have ever tasted. 

I remember in middle school my mom and I would stand at the kitchen counter and eat granola standing up.  We figured out that if you shake the container, the chunks magically rise to the top.  We felt like Newton when he discovered gravity (but lets not talk about Physics class now…). Everytime one of us would say “chunk” we would shake the box and the chunks would rise to the top. This was mother daughter bonding at its finest.

I am drooling as I type, thinking about this amazing granola… to bad it’s already all gone.  Othello can wait… I think I need to preheat the oven. 😉
Do you like clumpy granola?
With love,
Erica

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (feel free to just use another 1/2 cup oats)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (*I make my own)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup roasted almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves 
  • 1 teaspoon ginger

Preheat oven to 300F. Line 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Place the oats, quinoa, almond flour, whole wheat flour,
slivered almonds, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt in a stand mixer. Pour melted coconut oil evenly over the mixture and mix (you could also do this in a large bowl with a wooden spoon).  Set aside.
Combine maple syrup and dark brown sugar in a medium pot over medium
heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add vanilla
extract.  Pour this mixture over oat mixture and mix until
everything begins to come together. Lightly beat the egg whites until foamy, and stir into granola.
Press firmly into prepared baking pan, flattening the top so it is perfectly
even.
Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the pan every 10 minutes. Remove from
heat and let sit for a couple minutes. Cut into squares and break up
into smaller (but not too small!) cluster pieces.
Throw the clusters back into the baking pan and bake the clusters for 10
more minutes at 300F.
Remove from oven and let the clusters cool completely,

Homemade Almond Flour

  1. Pour 1/2 cup almonds into a food processor or blender. Pulse just a few
    times until they are finely ground.
  2. Once the nuts are ground, pass them through a sifter.  Any larger pieces that didn’t make it through can be ground up again.

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

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honey bunches of oats granola

As I sat at my desk, wearing my fuzzy Ugg slippers, with a big mug of chamomile and an even bigger packet of derivations and proofs, all I could think about is how badly I want to be in the kitchen.

I wanted to feel the warmth of the oven on my face, and pound out my frustrations in butter and sugar.  I hardly recognized my yoga pants without two big hand-prints of flour on them, and my camera looked so unfamiliar without any big, buttery thumbprints.  All I wanted to do is bake something.

So, being the savvy procrastinator that I am, I came up with an excuse why I had to get my hands on my Kitchen Aid.

In order to perform well on my exams, I needed a breakfast fit for a champion. Granola sounded good.  Then my inner procrastinator’s started to kick in:
Maybe this granola will knock those facts about the Hundred Years War out of me!
Maybe this will power me through that last derivation! 
Done. This granola had to be made. ASAP.
Those flashcards can wait…

So now on to the granola.  I bet that we can all agree that the best part of Honey Bunches of Oats are the “honey bunches” — or the little granola clusters.  The recipe that I’m about to share with you all is pure magic, because it turns regular Honey Bunches of Oats into pure granola!  Since I’ve been obsessed with brown butter lately, I browned the butter in this recipe.  Brown butter really takes the ordinary to the extraordinary. 

What do you like to eat when you have a big test?
With love,
Erica


Ingredients 

1 cup Honey Bunches of Oats cereal
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup cashews, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice

Preheat oven to
325, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Mix the cereal, flax
seed, and oats together, and pour onto the cookie sheet.  Bake for
about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile in a small saucepan, brown the butter, once the butter is bubbly and aromatic, add the brown sugar.  Add the vanilla and stir
until everything is well combined and the butter is melted, then remove
from heat. 

Pour the oat
mixture into a large bowl.  Add the butter mixture, cashews and
cranberries to the oat mixture and stir until everything is evenly
coated.  Add the cloves, cinnamon, and allspice. Pour it back onto the baking sheet and spread it out evenly,
while pressing down firmly.  Place in oven and cook 20-30 minutes or
until golden brown (do not overcook), stirring occasionally. 
Remove from oven and let it cool completely before storing in an air tight container.

Adapted from Little B Cooks

banana bread granola with hemp seeds

My obsession with banana bread has grown almost as bad as my obsession with cinnamon.

I have made four banana breads in the past week, and currently have a loaf of Joy’s Oatmeal Banana Bread in the oven. #ihaveaproblem

I decided that I didn’t just want to take in my banana bread by the slice — but also by the spoonful. This granola tastes just like banana bread with a crunchy, nutty, granola texture. It is packed with whole grains, fiber, and a serving of fruit. 

I also threw some hemp seeds in there for good measure. Hemp is considered one of the worlds most nutritious plants, and is known as the “most nutritionally complete food source in the world.” Who wouldn’t want to start their day with a seed containing a ton of antioxidants, magnesium, essential fatty acids, iron, potassium, fiber and all of the essential amino acids? 

What really takes this wholesome granola (which doesn’t taste wholesome at all) to the next level is coconut oil. If you absolutely cannot get your hands on coconut oil, you can substitute an equal amount of melted butter and the recipe will work. But coconut oil is absolutely mouthwatering in this granola, giving it a sweet, rich flavor. It also has many health benefits ranging from stress relief to bone strength.

When I drench this granola with milk, it infuses it with a sweet, warm, cinnamon flavor.  Sinfully delicious, outrageously wholesome. Now that’s how I like to do breakfast.

What other desserts would you like me to granola-fy? (I have already done carrot cake)

With love,
Erica


Ingredients

  • 3-4 ish cups thick-cut, old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup hemp seeds
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup banana chips
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs [optional]

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Mix all of the wet ingredients and bananas in a stand mixer. Add oats and let the machine run for a few minutes. Add hemp seeds. Scrape the sides until nice and clumpy. Add walnuts.
Spread granola onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, spreading and turning with a wooden spoon ever so often to make sure everything browns nice and evenly. Let cool, then stir in banana chips and chocolate.


Adapted from HappyYolks

carrot cake granola

Yes, I’ve been going crazy for carrots lately — carrot Lara bars, carrot pancakes, some carrot muffins and a big moist carrot cake slathered with cream cheese frosting. I can say that my dad’s 5 pound bag of carrots was a blessing in disguise, as it left us with a ton of carrot flavored treats.

I always feel ripped off buying granola at the store. Its so expensive, and I can’t help thinking “I could have made this even tastier at home for much cheaper” with every spoonful I eat. Plus, who knows what really goes into the store-bought varieties? (even those super-pricey organic ones). Personally, I find the aroma that fills my kitchen when a batch of granola is toasting in the oven incentive enough to make it at home. (check out my tropical hawaiian granola here)

This granola captures the essence of carrot cake perfectly — full of rich toasty coconut flakes, big buttery pecan pieces, and chewy, sweet raisins . In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if my neighbors thought I had a big ol’ carrot cake baking in the oven. It looks like regular old granola, but its a mouthful of crunchy carrot cake in every bite! Some mornings I wake up and think “Man, all I want today is a big bowl of cake for breakfast” — I’m sure some of you can sympathize. When I pour some cold milk on a big bowl of this granola, the clusters soften ever-so-slightly and the milk resembles cream cheese frosting. Full of rich coconut flakes, big buttery pecan pieces.

So yes, I am proud to say I am a borderline hippie who loves to make her own granola.
Do you have any funky granola flavor ideas for me to try? I am up for a challenge!
With love,
Erica

Ingredients

  • 2  cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup honey puff cereal
  • 2 cups puffed brown rice cereal
  • 2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 inch ginger root, grated
  • 1 cup apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup (a little less than) agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup dried coconut
  • 1 cup raisins

How-To

  1. Place two oven racks on the top and bottom 1/3 of the oven.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300°.
  3. Set aside two baking sheets with sides lined with a silpat liner, parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  4. In a large bowl, combine both oats, honey puffs, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and ginger.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the apple sauce, honey, brown sugar, agave, canola oil, vanilla extract and carrots.
  6. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  7. Pour the granola on the baking sheets, splitting evenly between the two baking sheets.
  8. With a silicone spatula (or any other flat tool), push down the granola to make a compact, flat and even layer of granola.
  9. Place the baking sheets in the oven for 20 minutes (one on the top, one on the bottom).
  10. While that is in the oven, chop your nuts and combine them in a bowl and set aside.
  11. With a large spatula flip over the granola, cut the larger clumps in half and add the nuts and coconut to the baking sheet.
  12. Bake for another 20 minutes stir around and break up any clumps that wouldn’t fit in one bite.
  13. Bake for a final 20-30 minutes, until completely dry and golden brown.
  14. Let the granola cool completely on the baking sheets.
  15. Once cool, add in the raisins
  16. Store in airtight containers and enjoy!

Adapted from Chocolate and Carrots
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tropical hawaiian granola

All of this delicious Spring weather has put me in the mood for a vacation! Luckily, I have family in Oahu who always bring us bags full of delicious, macadamia nuts and dried tropical fruits when they visit. One of my favorite things to do with these nuts (besides eating them plain) is throwing them into this luxurious granola recipe. I absolutely love fresh granola. Making homemade granola is a lot healthier and a lot tastier than any store-bought variety because it can be made without all of the scary preservatives used even high-quality store bought granola, not to mention its a whole lot cheaper! This granola is nutty, hearty, sweet, and tangy — filled to the brim with the flavors and nutritional benefits of tropical fruits and nuts. This recipe could not be easier and the results could not be more satisfying. I love to eat it with my favorite Greek yogurt, some cold milk, or even just straight from the jar.
With love, Erica

   Erica ‘s Tropical Hawaiian Granola

Ingredients

  • 3 cups organic rolled oats
  • 1 cup multigrain square cereal (like Chex) — nicely crushed up!
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup veggie or olive oil (or 1/3 cup applesauce — sometimes I like to use other fruit preserves)
  • 1/3 cup good honey
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup dried banana chips, dried mangoes, dried pineapple (or any other dried fruits you like!)

Heat oven to 350º.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, cereal, nuts, flax seeds, coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Whisk the oil, honey, and juice in measuring cup.
Pour the liquid mixture over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated.  Spread onto a large sheet pan.  Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even golden brown, around 30-40 minutes, depending on oven.
Remove granola from the oven and allow to cool completely, stirring occasionally.  Add dried fruit.  Store cooled granola in an airtight container.