When I started making my own granola, the family couldn’t get enough of it. Yes, it was nutritionally dense and packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, but it was also sweet and salty, making it addictive and high in calories.
I recently read Michael Moss’s bestseller, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. He wrote, “To make a new soda guaranteed to create a craving requires the high math of regression analysis and intricate charts to plot what industry insiders call the “bliss point,” or the precise amount of sugar or fat or salt that will send consumers over the moon.” With the concept of the bliss point in mind, I began tailoring my recipe to reign in the salt and sugar content and decrease the calories. I had to make quite a few batches to get to a healthier and tolerable bliss point.
Here is a list of the dry ingredients and their corresponding nutritional attributes (starting with the bowl of coconut at the top of the photo):
Coconut: fiber, iron, zinc
Pecans: antioxidants, vitamin E, protein
Craisins: antioxidants, fiber
Ground Flax Seed: omega 3’s, fiber, protein & lignans
Raw Pumpkin Seeds: magnesium, zinc, omega 3’s
Brown Sugar: calcium, iron
Wheat Germ: vitamin E & folic acid
Raw Sunflower Seeds: vitamin E & magnesium
Almonds: protein, fiber, vitamin E, minerals
Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats: lowers LDL cholesterol, fiber
Chia seeds: high in fiber and protein
8 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup brown sugar
2 cups wheat germ
1 cup ground flax seed (optional)
1 cup raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
1 cup raw, unsalted, pumpkin seeds
2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cup slivered or sliced almonds
1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
¼ cup chia seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons sea salt
⅔ cup extra-virgin olive oil
⅔ cup sorghum syrup (or honey)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup hot water
2 cups dried cranberries
Yield: 4.5 pounds
Preheat oven to 250º
Mix the oats, wheat germ, flax, brown sugar, seeds, nuts, coconut, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.
Into a 4-cup liquid measure, pour ⅔ cup olive oil, add sorghum until it reaches the 1⅓ cup line, and add hot water until it reaches the 2⅓ cup line. Stir in vanilla and whisk until well mixed.
Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and immediately mix until all ingredients are uniformly coated.
Pour mixture into two 13″ by 18″ rimmed baking pans.
Bake for one hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Once out of the oven, add the cranberries and mix. The granola will become crunchy as it cools. Store in an airtight container when cooled. It freezes well.
Chia seeds add a nice crunch and are high in fiber and protein. “Chia” comes from the Mayan word for “strength, ” Apparently, athletes swear by them for improving endurance. The chia seeds are on the right. The flax seeds are on the left.
A tasty and nutritious breakfast:
I enjoy having a half cup of granola with simple-to-make homemade plain yogurt or kefir for breakfast. Kefir is a slightly sour probiotic drink that has the consistency of liquid yogurt. If you add berries to the top, it’s like eating a sundae for breakfast!
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