Sunday, September 9, 2012

Coconut Almond Honey Granola (it's low fat!)

I don't know if I can express enough how much I love this recipe.

Granola is kind of sneaky.

You see rolled oats. You see nuts. You see seeds. You see lots of things that look really good for you. But what you can't see is all of the added oil that is embedded right into all of those ingredients.

Now we all know that I'm no hater of fat. I love butter, olive oil, cream cheese and cocoa butter. It's allll very good. But, it's not always necessary.

In a lot of baked goods fat not only provides flavour, but it has a lot of functional purposes, like providing structure, moistness and tenderness.

In granola, we don't need any of those things, except flavour of course.

The granola that you buy at the grocery store is most likely made with a lot of oil. This helps to make it crunchy and golden brown.

Well I have some crazy awesome news for you - you don't need it! I can make that happen with egg whites. This is one of my favourite tricks from my baking cookbook Scientifically Sweet, but I thought I would share it with all of you because...well...I really just like you a lot! Oh, and did I tell you it is now also available on Amazon Europe?

Egg whites provide the moisture needed to coat and bind the granola to create clusters, and they also contain protein which helps to crisp up the oats in the oven. The proteins also react with sugars from honey in a process called Maillard Browning, giving this granola a gorgeous toasty caramel brown colour.

How about flavour? Well cinnamon is the star here and only 2 tablespoons of oil are needed to carry these flavours.

This granola has coconut, sunflower seeds and almonds. Holy heaven. What a combo.

When you first mix it up with the egg white mixture, you might think I'm crazy because it looks to moist. You might think there's no way this is going to get crispy.

Have faith. After a good 25-30 minutes in the oven, it will look like this. After the first 15 minutes of baking, make sure to get in there and stir it around every 5 minutes to prevent the edges from burning.

Eat it like cereal in a bowl of milk. 

Serve it with yogurt and a drizzle of honey.

How about some berries?

I could also suggest that this would make one heck of a trail mix if you added some dried fruit and dark chocolate. 

Coconut Almond Honey Granola 
makes about 7 cups

4 ½ cups large flake old-fashioned rolled oats
¾ cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped
½ cup sweetened flaked coconut
½ cup sunflower seeds
3 large egg whites
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup amber honey
2 tbsp canola oil

Preheat your oven to 300°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together oats, chopped almonds, coconut and sunflower seeds; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites, cinnamon, salt and brown sugar just until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in honey and oil until well blended. Add oat mixture and stir until well combined and the oats are completely coated with egg white mixture.

Divide granola between the prepared baking sheets, spread it out in an even layer and bake until golden, 25-30 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon every 5 minutes to ensure that it bakes evenly and does not burn around the edges.

Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Store in an air tight container or in mason jars and go nuts!
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