Tropical Granola

30 May

GranolaMy work-life balance has been seriously challenged over the past 6 months, so I decided I needed to reset, and on a whim thanks to a $400 drop in flight prices, I decided to crash my parents trip to the Philippines.   When I informed my coworker, originally from Manila, who was covering for me while I was out, her reaction {with a fully belly laugh} was, “You’ll look like a giraffe among a family of meerkats.”  So, I knew I was in for some fun.

It was quite the adventure involving planes, buses, trikes, taxis, and vans to travel to 5 of the 7100+ islands that make up the country.  Thanks to my step-dads involvement in the community there, we got the royal treatment, which I never expected and greatly appreciated.  It was a great trip to an incredibly diverse country.   My highlights were posted on instagram, but I must mention a few – an intimate tour of the historic town and world heritage site of Vigan, snorkeling with whale sharks in Oslob, sneaking a peak of tiny tarsiers and meeting their environmental hero in Bohol, viewing the majestic Chocolate Hills, visiting the historic rice terraces in Banaue, and having one of my photos from the San Isidro Labrador Festival in Lucban, Quezon get featured on CNN’s ireport.

I can’t wait to go back…I still have 7,102 islands to visit!  #itsmorefuninthephilippines !

granola ingredients

 

{Gina’s Take}

So given the fact that I was living the island life for the past couple of weeks, I wanted to feature something tropical, and this gingerbread recipe was the inspiration..  I’ve made this granola probably 10x over just the past couple of months in a variety of forms.  I’ve tested it with various salts, honeys, nuts, and baking and stove top techniques.  One morning I went as far as making 3 different batches and my husband and I did our own tasting panel {yes, we’re dorks, but our house smelled so good that day}.  Our favorite combo turned out to be kosher salt, macadamia nuts, almonds, and orange blossom honey, but really, there are no wrong answers if you want to mix it up.

granola prep

 

From a technique standpoint with the nuts, the easiest way to get a nice fine texture is to use a food processor.  Chopping them by hand works too, it’s just more work/time.  Beyond that, this recipe is a snap.

{Pretty Little Tip}

Sweet tooth?  Add some chocolate shavings or fresh or dried fruit and serve over vanilla ice cream or vanilla yogurt and convert it from a tropical granola to a dessert granola.

Tropical Granola
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Ingredients
  • 4 cups oats old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ¾ cups raw macadamia nuts, finely chopped
  • ¾ cups raw almonds, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp flax meal
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ⅓ cup real maple syrup
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or extract)
  • ½ cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut flakes
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients: oats, nuts, almonds, flax, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Mix until evenly combined and set aside.
  2. In a small pan or skillet warmed to low, add the coconut oil, syrup, honey, and vanilla. Slowly heat the ingredients until the coconut oil has melted, stir, then pour over the liquid over the oat mixture & mix until the oats are evenly coated.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly distribute the granola on to the sheet.
  4. Bake the granola in a preheated 350 degree oven. Cook for a total of 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to ensure the granola evenly browns.
  5. During the last 10 minutes, add the shredded coconut and carefully combine with the granola on the baking sheet. Granola will be golden brown. Note: while warm, it will not be crunchy.
  6. After you have baked the granola, remove from the oven to cool, again, stirring every 10 minutes or so until completely cool to prevent the granola from clumping together.
  7. Store in an airtight container. Keeps fresh for up to 2 weeks.

 

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