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Alaska from Scratch: Crunch time - How to liven up your granola

Maya EvoyAlaska from Scratch
Maya Evoy

Granola, long thought to be an unappetizing, cardboard-resembling health food trend, is making a spectacularly delicious comeback on breakfast tables and inside backpacks everywhere. It is especially popular to make your own at home. There is nothing better than a batch of fresh granola, made from scratch, straight from the oven. It is simple to make, more affordable and tasty than most store-bought varieties and completely customizable. You can add your favorite combinations of dried fruit, nuts and even chocolate to a basic granola recipe.

Granola is a nutritional rock star, full of whole grains, fiber, dried fruit and nuts. It is a favorite among backpackers, hikers and campers because it travels well, can be enjoyed on the move and provides a satisfying energy boost for the trail. As the weather warms up and the snow melts, now is an ideal time to make some homemade granola to have on hand for all the spontaneous fair-weather Alaska adventures that await.

This ginger-cashew granola recipe is my favorite and I've received rave reviews on it from family members and friends. It packs a ginger punch with dried ginger roasted into the granola along with spicy-sweet crystallized ginger added in at the end. Plus, I've included quinoa, which adds a nutty little crunch to every bite and takes on the toasty sweetness of the granola. The addition of quinoa adds more protein and nutritional value to the granola, too. If you don't have quinoa on hand, the recipe can easily be made without it, with great results. Don't forget the cashews, coconut and maple syrup, which all add tremendous flavor and texture to this recipe. Enjoy it in a bowl with milk as breakfast cereal, sprinkle it onto your yogurt or fruit, or eat it by the handful as an afternoon snack.

Ginger-cashew granola

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats)

1/4 cup raw quinoa, rinsed and drained

3/4 cup cashews, roughly chopped

3/4 cup shredded coconut

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup crystallized ginger, diced

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray the foil with non-stick spray.

 

In a bowl, stir together the oats, drained quinoa, cashews, coconut, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon and salt until well combined.

 

 

In a smaller bowl, combine the melted coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and toss to coat well.

 

 

Spread the mixture out onto the baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring the granola every 10 minutes, until golden brown, fragrant and beginning to crisp (the granola crisps up further as it cools). Remove from oven and sprinkle the crystallized ginger over top. Cool completely and store the granola in airtight containers.

 

 

Maya Evoy lives in Kenai and blogs about food at alaskafromscratch.com. Have a food question or recipe request? Email maya@alaskafromscratch.com and your inquiry may appear in a future column.

 


Maya Evoy
Alaska From Scratch