Sunday, October 13, 2013

Recipe: Grain-Free, Sugar-Free Granola

One of the things I most miss since going low-carb is granola...  good, crunchy, nutty granola...  While this isn't a perfect replacement, it IS darn good.  NOTE:  This is VERY filling, I do not recommend eating a whole bowl of it like you would granola cereal.  Instead, it is great as a mid-afternoon snack on its own or sprinkled on top of fruit or yogurt.

I've also included a technique in this recipe--making a simple syrup from Splenda or sucralose.

1 cup roasted, salted soy nuts
1/2 cup roasted, salted almonds + 1 handful
1/2 cup slivered almonds (blanched or raw)
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (optional:  roasted, salted; or sprouted)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)
1 Tbsp cinnamon (optional)

2 cups sucralose
2 cups water

LCHD Technique:  Sugar-free Simple Syrup
Pour 2 cups sucralose into 2 cups water in a small saucepan on the stove.  Stir the mixture with a whisk until the sucralose is dissolved.  Heat the mixture at medium-high heat until the mixture begins to boil gently.  Stirring occasionally, allow the mixture to boil for 20 minutes.  It should reduce to about 3/4 cup and will have a slightly golden hue.  Once reduced, remove the saucepan from heat and allow to cool.  This will be used to bind and sweeten the granola (below) and can be used for a variety of other things as well:  sweetening your coffee or tea, sweeten your plain yogurt, or using as a glaze for baked items.

Granola Recipe:
Preheat the oven to 250.

Put all of dry ingredients into a food processor fitted with the S-blade.  Using the pulse function, pulse the mixture 10-15 times.  The mixture should have a range of sizes.  Pour into a mixing bowl.  At this point, I typically add another handful of the roasted, salted almonds (whole) to this mixture to give some bigger nut pieces.

Starting with 1/2 cup of the simple syrup, pour it onto the mixture in the mixing bowl and use a spatula to incorporate.  Taste for sweetness and whether the mixture is well-coated.  If necessary, add the remaining 1/4 cup of simple syrup.

Take a 10x15 baking pan and place a piece of parchment paper or silicone baking mat onto it.  Spread the mixture from the mixing bowl onto the paper or mat.  It should roughly cover the pan (with about 1/2" border on all sides) and be approximately 1/4" thick.  It should be pretty sticky and spread as a single mass.

Place into the oven and bake for 25-30 mins on the middle rack.  After 25-30 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool on the pan.  It should be quite crispy and will be like a giant, brittle granola bar.  Break it up loosely (don't break all the "biggies"--those are the best part of the granola!) and place it into a plastic bag or glass jar.

NOTE:  If using shredded coconut, this will add moisture to the mixture and will require additional baking time.  After 25-30 minutes, take the granola mixture out.  Most of the moisture will be trapped toward the center on the bottom of the baked mixture.  Using a spatula, break up the mixture on the baking pan being sure to turn over the pieces and expose any moist sections or pieces.  Put back into the oven and bake another 15-20 minutes.  Take out of the oven and test to see whether the mixture is fully dry.  If not, put back into the oven for another 5-10 minutes.  Once the mixture is fully dry, take out of the oven and allow to cool as above.  Store as above.

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