Super Seed Granola With Cinnamon Hazelnut Milk

I know it's summertime and we are all generally more in the mood for smoothie bowl recipes...but I somehow have granola on my mind instead.  Granola can be a great breakfast or snack in all seasons.  Sadly, most store-bought granola (yes, even the organic "healthy brands that charge $10 a bag) are loaded with low quality oils and way too much added sugar.  This is disappointing, mainly because of how unnecessary it is.  Luckily, the solution is easy.  Make your own!  This recipe is vegan, made with coconut oil and free of refined sugar and gluten. 

This recipe is meant to be a base that you can customize to your own favorite ingredients.  Don't care for pumpkin seeds?  Swap them out for another seed, or leave them out all together.  Don't have dried cherries on hand?  Use raisins or another dried fruit instead.  Make it work for you!  Granola tastes extra good with hazelnut milk (in my opinion), so I've included a quick recipe for that below.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

- 2 cups rolled oats (certified gluten free if desired)
- 1 cup almonds (or other nuts, even a mixture is fine)
- 1/3 cup raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes or shreds
- 1/4 cup buckwheat groats
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup flax seeds
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/3 cup brown rice syrup
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (omit to lower sugar even more)
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon good quality sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder (or vanilla extract if that's what you have)
- pinch nutmeg
- 3/4 cup dried unsweetened cherries
- 1/4 cup dried goji berries

Instructions:

Preheat over to 380 degrees.  Line a large, flat baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the oats, seeds, nuts, coconut, and buckwheat groats in a large mixing bowl.

Place the coconut oil, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, sea salt, vanilla, and spices in a small saucepan on low heat.  Tip:  Use the measuring cup for the coconut oil before the brown rice syrup.  It will keep the syrup from sticking so much to the measuring cup when it's coated in oil.  Cook, whisking occasionally, for just a few minutes until the coconut oil is melted and everything is well combined.

Remove syrup mixture from heat and pour over the dry mixture in the mixing bowl.  Quickly fold and stir repeatedly.  You want the sticky liquid mixture to fully coat the dry ingredients. 

Spread the mixture thinly onto your lined baking sheet.  Depending on the size of your baking sheet, you may need to cook the granola in two batches.  This makes a large amount, and I can't fit it all on my cookie sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, stir the mixture around a bit, and turn the baking sheet around.  Basically, you are just trying to keep the edges from burning.  Place back in oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes.  Be careful here.  Granola will go from undercooked to a pile of ashes pretty quickly, and it's such a letdown to burn a batch.  I usually keep an eye on mine for the second half of the cooking.  You want it to be a nice golden brown, with a slight bit of crisp to the edges.

Remove tray from oven and let the granola cool completely before touching it.  This is the hard part, because it will smell amazing!  Once it's cooled, add on the dried fruit and start to break up the granola a bit until it's just how you want it.  I like to leave some of the clusters pretty big, myself. 

Store the granola in jars in the refrigerator.  Enjoy it with nutmilk, smoothies, coconut yogurt, or as a snack on its own.  I personally love to eat it with cinnamon hazelnut milk, so I included some quick instructions below if anyone wants to try it out. 

Bonus Recipe for Cinnamon Hazelnut Milk:

Soak 1 cup raw, unsalted hazelnuts in water in a glass bowl for 8 hours or overnight.  Drain/rinse, and place in high powered blender.  Add 3 cups filtered water and blend on high until fully smooth.  Pour the mixture into a nutmilk bag over a large glass mixing bowl to strain the milk into the bowl and catch the pulp in the nutmilk bag.  Rinse blender.  Place strained hazelnut milk back in blender.  Add 2 pitted medjool dates, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder, a pinch good quality sea salt, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  Blend on high until the dates are fully ground up and you have a smooth liquid.  Store in the refrigerator and use within 2-3 days. 

  


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