With the new year year and all I am sure that some of you have decided to eat healthier this year. I, too want to continue to eat what is best for me and to prepare meals that will help my family. Healthy eating truly is a journey, and you just need to take steps. It has been quite a while since I posted something on eating whole foods and I plan to start that real soon. I still want to share with you steps I have taken to eat more healthy.
Until then, I want to share a healthy granola recipe with you. I love to eat granola for breakfast in the morning. As far as I can remember I always have. It is cruncy and a little sweet. It can be eaten not just for breakfast, but as a snack with some yogurt. This granola is perfect for the winter months.
I am sure you have heard of putting hazelnuts and chocolate together- Nutella. Nutella is a favorite around our house. My children love to put a little on their pancakes in the morning, and even sometimes in their oatmeal. So, this flavor of granola does not disappoint.
If you are wanting something better than dry, tasteless granola that you find in many grocery stores look no further. This granola is wonderfully toasty and flavorful.
If you have never made granola before it is quite easy and budget friendly. If you start making it you might just be like me and never go back to buying it already made. I have a few tips that I want to share with you so you can make outstanding granola too!
1. You need oil. Most of the time I use olive oil, but to make it a bit healthier you can use coconut oil. If you don’t use oil you are just going have a pile of dry oats
2. Choose your oats wisely. You want to use rolled oats for granola. I always have quick cooking oats in my pantry, but for granola it won’t work. They don’t soak up the moisture the same way as rolled oats do. You will end up with dry and dusty granola.
3. Add the fruit last. The best thing about making your own granola is that you can add whatever fruit and nuts you like, but you need to k ow when to add it. A good rule of thumb is to add any chopped, dried fruit after the granola comes out of the oven
4. Timing is everything. Granola is like cookies and continues to bake after you take it out of the oven. As it cools it firms up a bit. So, don’t wait until you granola is heavily browned before you pull it out of the oven. Follow the recipe but also trust your own eyes too.
5. Mix dry ingredients first. Granola is a one bowl affair, but you want to mix your dry ingredients together first before adding the wet ingredients. That way you avoid the clumping together of salt and spices which will eventually lead to a very unpleasant bite of granola.
6. Don’t fear salt! Salt enhances the flavor of your granola, and most people do not use it but you need too. Really!
7. Use a firm press. When pouring the granola on the baking sheet, make sure the sheet is pretty full or you will end up with burnt oats, and apply pressure with a spatula to create a nice, flat, uniform layer. This ensures the granola will bake evenly.
Now, that you have some tips on making the perfect granola. You should go make a batch today!
Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Granola
3 cups of rolled oats
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup canola or coconut oil
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup 60% or more chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 325. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, walnuts, salt, and cinnamon.
3. Add the vanilla, maple syrup, and oil. Stir to combine. You can use your hands at this point to make sure everything is evenly mixed together.
4. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and stir in the coconut flakes and hazelnuts. Return to the oven and bake until granola is fragrant and golden brown about 18 to 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through to ensure it is baking evenly. If it does not seem as toasty as you like it is much like cookies and will firm up considerably as it cools. Let cool completely and stir in the chocolate chips.
5. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 weeks or in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.
Recipes Source: Whole Grain Mornings