Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Low Sugar Cinnamon Cranberry Granola

Cinnamon Cranberry Granola, Half



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Fear Conquered: Low-Sugar Granola

Monday, 6:20 AM: First iPhone alarm buzzes and I swipe to shut it off. And fall back to sleep. I dream of not having to wake up in 30 minutes.

Monday, 6:30 AM: Second alarm. Second swipe. I roll over and stubbornly squeeze my eyes shut. And I tell myself I can still fall back to sleep. There’s still 20 minutes left.

Monday, 6:40 AM: Third alarm. This time I press the snooze. And I’m almost awake. But there’s still 10 minutes. Still time to nestle deeper under the blankets. To try and remember why getting out of bed is so important.

Monday, 6:50 AM: Third alarm repeats. This time I unlock the phone and squint with one eye at the too-bright display. And try to tap the email icon. It takes two attempts before my finger finally hits the right spot. I squint at the list of unread emails.

Monday, 6:55 AM: I’m out of bed. I’m in the living room, laptop powered on. Logging into my remote desktop. And while the desktop loads, scrounging in the kitchen for a bowl and spoon.

Monday, 6:58 AM: The granola bin is empty. Empty.

Fudge.

Storing Cinnamon Cranberry Granola

Only I didn’t say fudge. I didn’t say the four-letter word either. In fact, I don’t think I said anything. I just stared at the empty bottom of the bin. And desperately wished it wasn’t my job to refill the bin with the crispy, crunchy mix.

I retreat sullenly back to my laptop with an apple and a handful of raw almonds. Bleh. Meh. Fudge.

An hour later: “Just so you know,” Boyfriend Javelin says quietly, staring at the empty bottom of the granola bin. “We’re out of granola.”

I sigh. Deeply. “I know.” I look up from my virtual desktop. Boyfriend Javelin is still staring at the empty bin. As if staring will produce crispy oats and almonds. “I forgot about it,” I say. “Can you take something else for breakfast?”

But he ALWAYS takes a half cup of granola with two spoonfuls of yogurt and a couple slices of fresh fruit for breakfast. It’s portable, it's easy to eat at work and it keeps him going until lunch. Except for this morning. Because all that remains of the granola is the faint toasted cinnamon aroma at the bottom of the bin.

Cinnamon Cranberry Granola Breakfast

Boyfriend Javelin slowly recaps the empty bin and goes in search of dry cereal. Only there is none now that I make granola. “I guess I’ll just buy something from the cafeteria,” he says at last. “Do you think...?” he starts.

“I’ll make it after work,” I say quickly, trying to hide my own irritation. At myself. Because how hard is it to toss together few easy ingredients and then bake? Not hard. Not hard at all. “I just forgot about it...” I say, feeling even worse now that he’s standing there, empty handed.

Boyfriend Javelin shrugs and brightens a little. “Well, if you can get to it...” he says. And we both know I will. Because unlike fudge, granola is easy. And there’s really no excuse not to make it.

The stuff you buy in the store is priced like jewelry. And comes in dwarf-sized boxes. And is bursting with sugar. Sugar, sugar, sugar. Money, money money. Piddly, piddly, piddly. It's as if granola should be relegated to special occasions for the very rich. The very rich with tiny appetites. And a monstrous sweet-tooth.

But granola doesn't have to be expensive or sugary. Homemade granola is cheap to make and packed with slow-release protein and lots of fiber. And you choose exactly what to include. Don't like flax seed? Leave it out. Prefer raisins instead of dried cranberries? Add raisins. Hate ginger? No problem.

Homemade Cinnamon Cranberry Granola Corner

Oh. And about sugar. We're not making fudge. We're not making a cake. We're making breakfast for people we care about. So we're not going to hop them up on sugar. That's bad for their bloodstream, bad for their health - and so not very loving. Instead, add a little honey or maple syrup with some dried fruits. Let the spice mix do the rest.

So pick what you like, toss it all together and toast in the oven. That's it. Nothing complicated or expensive. This is everyday granola for everyday people with everyday appetites. And easy enough to make for everyday schedules.



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Photo Tutorial

Coconut Oil
Add 3 Tablespoons of coconut oil to a small pot over medium heat.

Measuring Honey
Add 3 Tablespoons honey.

Measuring Maple Syrup
Add 2 Tablespoons maple syrup (I use Grade A dark amber).

Measuring Kosher Salt
Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

Meausring Ground Cinnamon
Add 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon.

Measuring Ground Allspice
Add 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.

Whisking Syrup Ingredients Together
Whisk to combine, then bring syrup to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool 5 minutes.

Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
While the syrup cooks and cools, prepare granola mix. Add 3 cups of rolled oats to a large bowl.

1 Cup Sliced Almonds
Add 1 cup sliced almonds.

1/2 Cup Toasted Wheat Germ
Add 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ.

1 Cup Dried Cranberries
Add 1 cup dried cranberries.

Adding 3 Tablespoons of Flax Seed
Add 3 Tablespoons flax seed.

Adding Syrup to Granola
Add partially cooled syrup to the granola ingredients and stir together.

Mixing Granola Before Baking
Toss the ingredients with your fingers to thoroughly coat everything in the syrup.

Granola Ingredients on Sheet Pan
Dump the granola onto an ungreased half-sheet baking pan.

Granola Before Baking
Spread in an even layer, then bake for 30 minutes at 275F.

Tossing Granola Halfway Through Bake Time
After 30 minutes, stir through the ingredients with a spatula, then bake for another 30 minutes.

Cinnamon Cranberry Granola
Remove toasted granola from the oven and let cool.

Homemade Cinnamon Cranberry Granola Corner
Cool granola completely before storing in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.



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Low-Sugar Cinnamon Cranberry Granola

    by Javelin Warrior
     Prep Time: 15 min
     Cook Time: 40 min

Ingredients (makes 5 cups)
  • 3 Tablespoons refined coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 3 Tablespoons flax seeds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 275℉
  2. In a small pan over medium heat, whisk together the coconut oil, maple syrup, honey, salt, cinnamon, allspice and ginger
  3. Bring the syrup mixture to the boil and cook for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally; remove the syrup from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes
  4. In a large bowl, combine oats, sliced almonds, cranberries, wheat germ, flax seed and syrup; toss to evenly coat, then spread the granola in an even layer on an ungreased baking sheet
  5. Toast the granola in the oven for 40 minutes, stirring once with a spatula after 20 minutes; cool granola completely before storing in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks
An original recipe by Javelin Warrior. © 2013 Javelin Warrior. All rights reserved.
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Hungry for Tips?
  • Low Sugar: Due to the relatively low amount of sugar, the resulting syrup does not really act as a glue between the other ingredients in the granola. And so this granola does not clump into clusters. I happily sacrifice clusters in favor of less sugar. But that's just me.

    Homemade Cinnamon Cranberry Granola Corner
     
  • Coconut Oil: There's some thought among certain medical professionals that coconut oil may be better for our bodies than other types of refined oil (such as canola). However, I'm not qualified to provide medical or health advice. So if you would rather use canola oil, the final granola will turn out just about the same.

    Coconut Oil
     
  • Wheat Germ: Different toasted wheat germs vary in flavor and texture by brand. I've made this granola with two different brands and the final flavor is about the same. So pick whatever brand you like.

    1/2 Cup Toasted Wheat Germ
     
  • Dried Cranberries: Did you know some companies coat their dried cranberries with oil in order to keep them from clumping? It's true. And that oil is just extra, unnecessary fat and calories. So now I check the ingredient list before buying dried cranberries and stick with oil-free brands.

    1 Cup Dried Cranberries
     
  • I like my cranberries hardened and flavored with the spices of the granola. So I add my cranberries before baking and allow them to continue to dry during the bake-time. If you prefer softer cranberries, add them to the granola after baking.
     
  • I like to add flax seed to my granola for extra protein and crunch. You can find flax seed in many grocery stores or wherever Bob's Red Mill products are sold. If you cannot find flax seed, leave it out as it doesn't really add much in the way of flavor.



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7 comments:

  1. Oh the pathos JW, this post reminded me of AA Milne's poem the King's Breakfast. Despite having a regular pot of coconut oil on the go, I've not thought to use it for granola so thank you for that tip - the use of oil puts me off making granola very often. My food may get steadily less healthy through the day, but I do like to start with a healthy breakfast.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I had to look up and read the King's Breakfast, Choclette - it made me smile :) And I'm pretty much the same. I like to at least start the day healthy, even if it ends up on a less-healthful note with cakes and cookies and pies :/

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  3. I'm such a sucker for a good granola, but I'm so turned off by the sugar content...even by a lot of the homemade recipes out there. This one's really not so bad - I'll have to try it out! Thanks for a great looking recipe :)

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  4. I'm the same way, Jess. The last thing I want first thing in the morning is a jolt of sugar to my bloodstream. You might even be able to cut out even more if the honey or maple syrup if desired, although I find oats tend to be a little bitter so a little sweetness helps to counter that... Hope you enjoy!

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  5. i'm totally with you on the no clusters but less sugar part. One thing I've learnt is that if you blitz up some of the oats into powder, they do tend to help with the clusters with the same amount of sugar :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh that's a cool trick. I'll have to give that a try the next time I make granola and see how it works... Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Jody_thehobbyroomdiariesMay 11, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    You ARE back! Your posts are great to read. And store-bought granola is basically candy for all the nutritional content, homemade is SOOO much better. Love the recipe!

    ReplyDelete