Paleo and Vegan Maple Macadamia Granola
This is a recipe that I've been making for awhile now. I make variations of it pretty often, and sometimes I'll have some on hand for weeks on end. More recently, I have been forgetting to make it, until yesterday. I love to eat it on its own, or use it as a topping for all kinds of things, like cashew or coconut yogurt, Danielle Walker's macadamia waffles, or this really yummy chocolate avocado mousse my friend and I developed together (that's a future blog post).
I'm kind of proud of this recipe, because I'll give it away as a gift (homemade granola makes a great gift in a mason jar tied with a bow!), or share it with people who come over. Everyone says I should package it and sell it! There are multiple people who now make this granola themselves on a regular basis. OK, so I know it sounds like I'm bragging a little. But, you don't always win when it comes to recipe creations, in fact, you normally lose until you rework it many times. That's why I won't likely do my own cookbook any time soon. I don't think I have the patience to develop that many recipes! But when you do win, it's really exciting! It's like you're giving someone the gift of your creation, that they can enjoy as often as they want.
This recipe really has a lot of superfoods, too, but in the most tasty way possible. It's not like a green smoothie that puts hair on your chest, it's more like a treat that you don't even realize has superfoods. Don't get me wrong, I like green smoothies! But when I'm drinking one, I'm very aware that it's healthy, and that's the main reason I'm drinking it.
Don't be deterred by the different steps in this recipe. Prep time is only about 20 minutes, and baking time is about 30 minutes, then you'll dehydrate the granola, which is a process you can start and then walk away from. You'll notice I use essential oils in this granola, which is common for a lot of my recipes. It's absolutely not required to use them, I just enjoy doing it for the added benefits it provides. Read down below for the benefits of the ones in this recipe.
Paleo and Vegan Maple Macadamia Granola
1 1/4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/4 cups hemp hearts
1 1/4 cups ground flax seed OR quinoa flakes (use the flax seed for paleo)
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground clove
3/4 tsp sea salt
5 drops cinnamon essential oil
4 drops clove essential oil
3/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup maple syrup (use honey for SCD)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup macadamia nuts
2/3 cup walnuts, pecans, or almonds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the coconut oil and maple syrup in a small saucepan, and melt over low heat.
While these are melting, combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl (coconut, hemp hearts, ground flax or quinoa flakes, dry spices, and sea salt).
Once the coconut oil and maple syrup are melted, remove from heat and add the vanilla extract and essential oils. Pour about 2/3 of this wet mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and mix well with a spoon.
Now put this whole mixture on a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment. Spread it evenly, and put in the oven. Set the timer for 15 minutes.
While your mixture is baking, chop your macadamia nuts and walnuts (or nuts of your choice) coarsely. After the mixture on the cookie sheet has been baking for 15 minutes, remove from the oven. Pour your chopped nuts and pumpkin seeds over this mixture, and pour the rest of the maple syrup and coconut oil over all of it. Mix everything together with a spatula or spoon, spread evenly again over the cookie sheet, and bake for another 15 minutes.
(The reason I don't combine everything and just bake it for 30 minutes total is that I don't want to burn my nuts, plus everything needs to be stirred up anyway about halfway through).
Dehydrate the Granola
Once the granola has been baking for 30 minutes total, remove from the oven. At this point, you can decide how you want to dehydrate it. It's worthwhile to dehydrate it, because it makes it crunchy and forms yummy clumps. I've found 3 options for dehydrating that have worked for me:
1. Oven with the door cracked open. Turn the oven temp down to about 200 degrees F, and put the granola, still on the cookie sheet, in the oven with the oven door cracked open. It should take about 2 hours to do it this way.
2. Warming drawer, cracked open. If your oven has a warming drawer, turn the warming draw on to a medium setting. Place the granola, still on the cookie sheet, into the warming drawer and again, leave it cracked open. I've left mine in there for 2-3 hours or longer to get it well dehydrated.
3. Dehydrate setting on the oven. If your oven has a dehydrate setting, just use this! I turn mine to 160 degrees F and leave it in there for a good 2 hours.
The fourth option, which I have not ever tried, is to just use a dehydrator that you buy at a cooking store (or on Amazon, of course). I considered doing this before we got the oven we have now, but just didn't want another contraption in my kitchen.
Essential Oils Used in this Recipe
Cinnamon is known for its warming properties. It can help support metabolic function, as well as immune function, especially when taken internally*. So it's great to use it in the winter, when seasonal threats are peaking.
Clove has powerful antioxidant activity, and supports cardiovascular function*. These benefits are especially present when clove is taken internally*.
REMEMBER: If you ingest essential oils, it is of utmost importance you use a brand that is meant to be ingested. One trick is to check to see if there are supplement facts on the bottle. If not, then do not consume it and just use the dry herb.
*As with all supplements, these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.