Valentine Sweets for my Sweethearts: Cleaner Brown Sugar Granola

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I love granola and so does my little one (as you can see by the above picture!).  I used to buy it as a special treat and now I wonder why I ever bothered.  It is so easy to make and much, much cheaper!  Especially the gluten-free ones; I can buy a big bag of gluten-free oats – an entire bag that I can get several batches from – for less than certain brands!  We’ve tried several different recipes and have more than a couple of favorites but it never stops me from trying a new one! 

I usually try to avoid using sugar, preferring maple syrup or honey instead where it’s for breakfast.  I made an exception with this one.  It was Valentine’s Day after all!

I found this recipe in a Gooseberry Patch book, one of their Christmas books actually.  I love their Christmas books and don’t put them away, getting inspiration from them all year long.  They have great recipes and crafts and decorating ideas, plus I try to start to start my Christmas crafting early. 

Gooseberry Patch has some great recipes, but most of them used pre-packaged, processed ingredients.  I know they are that way to make them quick and easy, but I’ll be honest and don’t think I’m spending that much more time using unprocessed ingredients!  When I went gluten-free I had to start adapting them and it’s gone from there; it’s a lot easier than some people think.  This one didn’t need much done to it; it called for butter but I used coconut oil so it would be dairy-free for Blessing and I cut out the corn syrup.  Corn syrup is highly processed and not good for you at all, plus it can also be full of GMO’s so we stay away from it.  (Want some more information?  Check out some interesting info here: http://www.ehow.com/about_5512797_corn-syrup.html .)

Back to the recipe!  As I said, I left the sugar in because it was called, “Brown Sugar Granola.”  Instead of the corn syrup I added just a little bit of extra honey than the original recipe called for and I think it worked out fine.  I don’t use a lot of regular sugar anymore, so I stock up when it’s on sale or I have a coupon and I buy an all-natural or organic, non-GMO brand that I feel a little better about feeding my family.

I tweaked just a couple of other things in the recipe but stuck to most of it, and it was SO good!  You can see Henry making sure he got every last drop!  We both had our first bowl, still warm from the oven, topped with cold almond milk and blueberries.  Yummy!

What I love about granola is anything goes.  Don’t like coconut?  Use extra nuts – more almonds or a different kind.  Don’t like almonds?  Substitute your favorite!  (I think pecans would be really yummy in this.)  Nut allergy?  Use extra coconut, some sunflower seeds, or your favorite dried fruit.  It will all taste great!  Get creative and enjoy!

 

Brown Sugar Granola

2 Tablespoons coconut oil

1/3 cup honey

2-3/4 cups oats, uncooked (I used gluten-free; the recipe called for quick-cooking but old-fashioned was what I had, and they worked fine)

½ cup almonds, chopped

½ cup brown sugar, packed

1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

½ cup flaked coconut

 

Melt coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan; set aside.  Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl; blend in liquids, mixing well to coat.  Spread into a well-greased 13”x9” baking pan; press firmly to pack.  Bake at 350 degrees F until dark and golden, about 20 to 30 minutes; turn onto aluminum foil to cool.  Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Makes 1-1/4 pounds.

 

            Hope you like it!  I think homemade granola is better than any store-bought cereal I’ve ever had and it is so worth the effort.  Plus, I know I am feeding my family something wholesome, nutritious, and unprocessed – that is yummy and they want to eat!  It’s good for breakfast, but I like it as a snack too.  I may have to double the batch next time; I have a feeling this one is not going to last long!

 

Have a blessed day,

Emily

 

Gooseberry Patch Christmas, Book 7; Leisure Arts Publications, 2005; ISBN 1-57486-364-9; page 74

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