Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hazelnut and Cocoa Nib Granola


One of my favorite granola is made by the Seattle-based Marge Bakery and it features oats, filberts and coconut baked at low temperatures and tossed with cacao nibs. It goes extremely well with strawberries and almond milk and I love the slightly warm hint of cardamom in the background. Unfortunately, the granola also costs an insane amount for reasons I'm not particularly sure of. I think it averages out to almost a dollar an ounce!

I've attempted to recreate this in my own kitchen, and I'm rather happy to report that it's quite a passable replication. One of the irritating things about store-bought granola is the meager amounts of the 'good stuff' that gets included i.e. nuts, berries and seeds are often overwhelmed by brown sugar and cheap oats. With homemade granola, you can always add or subtract things that you like, so feel free to add dried blueberries or cranberries or substitute the nuts to turn this into your own personalized granola. The granola is baked at very low heat so it turns out crispy.

My recipe here differs slightly from Marge Bakery's in that I'm using slightly more nuts and cardamom. Marge Bakery also uses only maple syrup, but I love the flavor of Ballard Bee's local raw honey which, when coupled with a small amount of vanilla powder, lends a mellowly sweet, floral undertone to the granola. It must be said here that vanilla powder is one of those things that when you start using, you'll never want to give up. I use it in lieu of vanilla extract in all my baked goods now, and it looks and tastes so much better than its alcohol-infused counterpart.

With the exception of the Oregon filberts (just substitute regular hazelnuts), most of the ingredients used here is available online through Amazon.com or your local health store. I recommend using organic ingredients when you can find them just because that's what I personally use, but conventional grown works just fine. 

Hazelnut and Cacao Nib Granola (inspired by Marge Bakery)
Makes 12oz

2 cups organic rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped raw Oregon filberts
1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
1/4 cup organic unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup organic maple syrup, Grade B
1/4 cup local honey
1/4 cup cold-pressed olive oil (or grapeseed oil)
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon vanilla powder (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup raw cacao nibs

Preheat oven to 250°F. Mix all ingredients except cacao nibs in a large bowl, stir to combine. Spread in a single layer on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes at 250°F. Flip granola, bake for another 15 minutes. 

Remove from oven, let cool, then mix in cacao nibs. Store in airtight jars for up to two weeks.

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