I didn't plan to write a post about granola because it seems so mainstream now, and I was afraid of sounding like a broken record in the blog world. But I tweaked my usual recipe a bit this weekend to dress it up for guests we had, and I enjoyed the result so much that I wanted to share it with you.
I recently found puffed quinoa at my local Reformhaus (the German equivalent to a health food store). I bought a bag, already having in mind wanting to increase the nutrient level, and in particular the protein level, in my normal granola. With a few exceptions, I usually choose whole grains/oats rather than their processed, quick-cooking counterparts since the nutritional quality diminishes during the processing. But from what I have read, the puffed quinoa retains much of the nutrients and complete protein quality that quinoa is so famous for. So eat up!
Home-made granola is a frequent visitor in our kitchen. I make it once or twice a month to add variety to my weekday breakfast rotation of bircher muesli and steel cut oatmeal. I serve myself a generous helping and mix in full-fat plain yogurt, some berries, and I'm good to go. This is perfect as is, and I will continue to have granola this way. But for our friend I made a granola parfait. For little additional effort creating a parfait made it feel so much more special, and I have to admit it was really fun to eat. Just layer yogurt, mashed berries with a little honey (or good quality jam), granola, and repeat.
Granola is a blank canvas. You should make sure you have enough liquid (oil and liquid sweeteners) for the amount of dry ingredients, but other than that, the mix and proportion of nuts, seeds, grains, and dried fruit can be tweaked to your liking. So if there are certain ingredients in this recipe that would otherwise deter you from making this, please don't let it. This just happens to be my favorite mix.
Puffed Quinoa Granola
2 cups (195 g) rolled oats
2 cups (68 g) puffed quinoa
1 cup (75 g) unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)
1 cup (120 g) slivered almonds
1/4 cup (34 g) sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cardamom
Big pinch salt
4 Tbsp. coconut oil (or a neutral flavored oil)
3 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
3 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp. pure almond extract
2/3 cup (80 gr) dried cranberries (or other dried fruit of your choice)
Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat warm oil and the next 3 ingredients (through applesauce). Whisk together to incorporate, remove from heat, and mix in almond extract. Pour liquid over oat mixture and stir well to combine.
Spread mixture evenly on a large cookie sheet lined with a silpat, foil, or parchment paper. Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, until starting to brown. Remove from oven, flip granola over with a spatula and cook for 1-2 more 10 minute intervals, depending on how toasted you like your granola. After each 10 minutes, remove from oven and stir around so all sides are browned.
Once cooked, remove from oven and let cool before stirring around so some clumps will form. Stir in dried fruit and transfer to an airtight container to store. This granola will last for a good week.