Grace’s granola

Graces+granola

Grace Vance

I have to admit, granola is not every exciting. There is always some crunch, a little spice and a hint of sweetness, but that is the extent of what most people expect. But let me tell you, this granola recipe delivers these qualities and more…
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I was actually surprised by how good this granola turned out when I first tasted it warm off the pan. I liked this granola so much that I even decided to give it a signature name. I loved the subtle sweetness and toastyness of the coconut and nuts together. Who could go wrong with buttery walnuts and pecans, silky coconut oil and oats?
Today’s recipe also features an ingredient I don’t use that often: puffed amaranth. According to an article from The Whole Grain Council, this grain is full of protein, fiber, calcium, copper and vitamins A, C, E and K. This super food also has cancer-preventing properties partly attributed to lunasin, a peptide, and it also has anti-inflammatory abilities.
It starts with plain, uncooked amaranth grain, and rather than cooking it how you would rice (with boiling water) there is this new and fun way of preparing it, which I have described below, that makes it pop into cute little puff similar to mini popcorn.
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Along with the health powerhouse nutrition of this recipe, the flavors are amazing. Warming cinnamon mingles with rich vanilla bean and plenty of healthy fat filled walnuts, pecans and coconut. The polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats from nuts also digest slower and give you a sense of satiety for longer. Nuts are also filled with vitamin E, fiber, protein, omega-3 fats, copper and manganese, among other nutrients, according to a study by The World’s Healthiest Foods. And of course, oats are fiber filled and the star of today’s recipe.
Before baking…
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After baking…
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Everything about this granola is just so alluring. The taste, the texture, the smell. Making this granola reminded me of those cozy fall days when the oven wafts sweet, vanilla-accented goodies. The scent of this recipe baking is everything a cold winter day (or even a relaxed summer afternoon) would need. So whether you are feeling nostalgic over winter or crazing the sun, this recipe is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or even an after dinner or anytime snack! There are so many serving options: over yogurt, with fresh fruit, as a topper for smoothies, as cereal, and more!
Granola sprinkled apple slices and peanut butter…
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The idea of making granola actually came to me as I was munching on one of my favorite combinations: granola, soy milk and a sticky sweet baked sweet potato. It sounds weird, but I honestly love the bright pop of orange from the potato and the lovely sweetness from the granola. There is a nice crunch to balance the soft sweet potato and it is so easy to prepare. So while I was eating store bought granola, a thought came to my head. “Why don’t I make my own granola?”
So, here you have it, and I couldn’t of thought of a better way to share this.
Grace’s Granola
2 ½ cups rolled oats
1 cup raw walnuts, lightly chopped
1 cup raw pecans, lightly chopped
1 cup puffed amaranth
⅓ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup shredded coconut
1 ½ tbsp coconut oil (use unrefined virgin or extra virgin so the coconut flavor is present)
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp vanilla bean, seeds scraped from the pod with a knife
¼ tsp pink salt
Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F
  2. Prepare the walnuts and pecans by roughly chopping them, but don’t over chop because they may burn if too small.
  3. To make the puffed amaranth: heat a pan or pot over medium high heat. You will know the pan is hot enough when you can pour a few drops of water on it and it sizzles. Take a few tablespoons of dry, uncooked amaranth (make sure the pan is dry) and within a few seconds the amaranth should make an audible “pop” sound. This means the grain is puffed. After pouring amaranth, immediately cover with lid and slide the pan over the burner so the grain doesn’t burn. Listen carefully for when the popping sound stops, then you will know when to pour the puffed amaranth out. The first few tries might now come out very well but after a while you will learn the timing. Adjust the heat throughout this cooking process as needed.
  4. Melt the coconut oil and combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix until combined very well.
  5. Pour granola mixture into pans lined with parchment paper and spread evenly. Cook for 25-35 minutes, or until lightly browned.

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All photos by Grace Vance