Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Coconut-Vanilla Granola

It's officially looking and feeling like springtime outside and I absolutely love it!  What a gorgeous day!  The sun's coming up, the sky's a wonderful shade of blue, leaves are beginning to appear on the trees, and my kitchen smells like the tropical aroma of coconuts.

Side note: I pretty much love the smell of anything relating to coconut.  (Coconut candles, coconut body wash, coconut lotion, etc.) 

However, my love for all things coconut is not why my kitchen smells of coconut today.  The reason it smells so wonderfully delicious, is because I'm currently baking a batch of coconut-vanilla granola.  I absolutely love making granola because it makes such a great topping to pretty much anything you can think of.  I personally put it on top of my Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, but it's also good as is, with just a little almond milk.  Yummy!

Coconut-Vanilla Granola

3 ½ cups old fashioned oats
¾ cup almonds
½ cup shredded sweetened coconut (optional)
2 TBSP. light brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
4 TBSP. coconut oil, melted
½ cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. coconut extract
1 vanilla bean, scraped out

Optional: 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the oats, almonds, coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground flaxseed.

In another bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and coconut extract, and the vanilla bean scrapping.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir around with a wooden spoon until everything is well coated.  Empty the contents of the bowl onto the prepared baking sheet and spread around to form an even layer.  Place the pan into the oven and let bake for 25-30 minutes.  Make sure to stir it around every 10 minutes or so, to allow even baking and to keep the granola from burning.

Once done, remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool.  The granola may be stored in an airtight container for about a week.  Enjoy!


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