Really Healthy Granola
This recipe is such a great substitute for store-bought granola. In addition to honey, it uses a sweetener called Stevia. The white powdery stevia that has become popular as a sugar substitute is actually very refined from its natural form. Nature’s stevia is a green, leafy plant, and it’s subsequent sweet powder should optimally be green, reflecting it’s natural state. We grow it in our greenhouse and dry it on the farm, but it is available in many health food stores with a bulk spice section. Even green stevia can have a flavor that some people don’t like, but if you formed your opinion based on the white stuff, we encourage giving the green version a try, which is much more mild. However if green powdered stevia is not available or not desired, simply increase the amount of honey to 1/2 cup. Molly combines honey and stevia in this recipe. The combination allows the stevia to simple play a supportive role in the background. It enhances the sweetness, while still maintaining the overall flavor profile of the honey.
Really Healthy Granola
This recipe uses a piece of equipment called a dehydrator. We can no longer apologize for this inclusion because it simply has become such an important part of our kitchen that we feel you would benefit from having one, too. If you aren't ready, this same technique can be performed in the oven, but it will tie up the oven for a good long while. Also, be sure to check out the notes below. They give several variations that you may find useful.
4 cups rolled oats
4 cups warm filtered water
8 tbsp whey or lemon juice
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup raw honey *
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp powdered green stevia **
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup soaked walnuts, roughly broken with hands ***
1 cup soaked almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 cup soaked sunflower seeds
1/2 cup soaked pumpkin seeds
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup dried currants ****
- Soaked Oat Instructions: Two days before - In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, warm water and whey or lemon juice. Stir gently to combine.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and set in a warm place for 24 - 36 hours.
- In a fine mesh strainer, rinse well.
- Gently spread soaked oats evenly onto a dehydrator tray lined with a mesh insert. Dehydrate at 150˚ for 12 hours, until thoroughly dried. Remove and cool.
- Once cool, granola may be made immediately, or oats may be stored in an airtight container for several days, ready and waiting for granola preparation.
- Granola Instructions: Preheat oven to 350˚. Locate a non-stick sheet pan or a regular sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Once nearly melted, add honey, cinnamon, stevia and sea salt. Whisk well to combine.
- While butter is melting, crumble oats onto the prepared sheet pan. No big chunks should remain. Add walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and coconut flakes.
- Once honey-butter mixture is prepared, evenly pour mixture overtop of oat-nut mixture.
- Using a spatula, stir until well combined; ensure every piece of dried oat gets a light coating of butter.
- Spread evenly before baking for 10 minutes. Remove and stir.
- Spread evenly and bake for 5 minutes.
- Remove and stir. Spread evenly and bake for 5 additional minutes, for a combined total of 20 baking minutes.
- Remove and immediately stir in currants until well combined.
- Cool completely before storing in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Or transfer to the freezer for several months.
* Typically, my reasoning for using “raw” honey is due to the fact that regular store-bought honey has been pasteurized, which means it has been heated and strained to obtain a clear product that is easier to pour. Unfortunately, during this pasteurization process, many of nature’s beneficial enzymes are destroyed. “Raw” (unpasteurized) honey still contains most of those valuable enzymes. However when a recipe is going to be baked or heated in any way, the enzymes will be destroyed regardless. In this case, we still recommend purchasing and cooking with raw honey, if possible. We find the overall quality of the honey to be more consistent, and we prefer supporting farmers who choose less refinement in their practices. If raw honey can’t be found, regular honey may be substituted in equal measurements.
** Grocery store powdered white stevia is a refined product. Nature’s stevia is a green, leafy plant, and it’s subsequent sweet powder should optimally be green, reflecting it’s natural state. I purchase Frontier brand green stevia powder from my local health food store. I also find green stevia’s flavor to be more appealing. Here’s a <a href=”http://www.frontiercoop.com/products.php?cn=Stevia+Herb&ct=hchhaz”>link</a> for on-line purchase. I do use stevia tinctures when the green hue of this natural sweetener affects the color of my recipe, but in recipes such as this granola, the color hides nicely. If green powdered stevia is not available or not desired, simply increase the amount of honey to 1/2 cup.
*** Any combination and variety of nuts in approximately the same quantity will be delicious.
**** My husband and I prefer a lightly sweetened granola with only a sprinkling of currants. If you prefer a sweeter variety, feel free to add any amount, variety and combination of dried fruit to suit your tastes. Simply be sure to follow the recipe’s technique of adding the fruit after the granola is removed from the oven, which prevents the fruit from becoming over-cooked and hard.
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