Granola - Pear, Ginger, Cardomom

Once you learn how easy it is to make granola at home, you'll never look back. I learned this way too late in life, believing granola was this sugar-laden calorie bomb that should be avoided at all costs. While it does include sweetener, I use brown rice and maple syrup, which are far more natural and blood sugar friendly. This recipe is also an exercise of proportions, so once you get the hang of how you like your granola, you can substitute any of the ingredients to suit the season and your personal preference.

Ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup pepitas

1/4 cup flax seeds

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cardomom

1/4 tsp chinese five spice

1/4 tsp pink himalayan sea salt

2 tbsp date suger (optional)

1 pear, cored and finely diced

1/2 cup apple cider

1/4 cup brown rice syrup or agave

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line a large baking dish with parchment (or use two, if you wish for a crunchier end result) and set aside. Using a large bowl, gently stir your dry ingredients together: oats, nuts, seeds, and spices. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the cider, syrups, coconut oil and vanilla over very low heat. No need to boil, simply heat through so the flavors marry together. Take off the heat and add half the batch to the dry ingredients. Stir to incorporate, then add the rest and repeat. At this stage, give it a little taste. I always add in more spices, it's just a matter of how much of each I feel like, so you can do the same. And remember, sometimes an added pinch or two of salt is all you  need to draw out those flavors without going overboard.

This is not a sugary sweet granola, nor should it be. The complexity of the spices with the fruit and the nuts should shine here. If you would like a little more sweetness, add in a tablespoon or two of date sugar. Once it meets your approval, gently stir in the pears (they are delicate, so we don't want to meddle with them too much) and then they are ready for the baking dishes. 

Spread out the granola in a thin layer over the two dishes. Bake for 15 minutes, give the granola a stir, and spread out again for another 15 minutes in the oven. Stir again for a second time and return to the oven again for another 15 minutes. Depending on your consistency preferences and oven calibration, 45 minutes to an hour total baking time is ideal. After one hour, my granola looks like this:

Take it out of the oven to cool completely and then store. Additionally, you can put a spin on the granola and make breakfast bars with the Energy Protein Bites recipe. Doubling the base recipe (2 cups oat flour, 1 cup vanilla protein powder, 1 cup agave, 1 cup cider, 1 tsp vanilla) and using the same spices as in the granola (1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. ginger, 1/2 tsp. cardomom, 1/4 tsp. chinese five spice, salt, to taste), I've created enough dough to spead evenly in a plastic wrap lined, 9 x 9 baking dish:

Evenly spread the granola over the top of this no-bake breakfast bar base and chill in the refrigerator. By sunrise, you will have a very welcome and energizing surprise waiting for you. Here's to a powerful morning!

Enjoy!