Sunday, June 2, 2013

Easy (and Healthy) Tropical Granola

Have you ever tried making granola at home?  If you answered no, then you'd be amazed at just how simple it is!  A little melting, a little mixing, a little toasting and your done.  Yup.  That's all there is to it!  But probably the best part about making granola in the comfort of your own home is the fact that you can customize it to fit your taste. 
Customizing granola is incredibly easy.  Add your favorite type of nuts.  Try the dried fruits you like the most, and then get creative, try different combinations.  Your options are endless.  The version I have here has dried mangos, pineapple, papaya and some toasted and raw coconut.  I also added some almonds and pistachios for another element of taste and texture.  It's delish! 

If you've never made your own granola, what's stopping you?  The fact that you'd have to buy nuts and fruits, that you wouldn't usually have in your pantry, in bulk?  That you'd be stuck with excess after you made your granola?  Well, I have an answer to cure those worries.  Instead of buying those products in bulk, shop at stores that have the bulk bins that way you can scoop out what you need without having a lot of extra leftover. 
I love keeping granola around our house. Not only is it a healthy snack, it's quick and easy and ready to go at the drop of a hat. I find myself scooping it up by the handful enjoying it as I move from one task to the other. But not only is it a great snack while you're on the go, it's also perfect mixed into your favorite flavor yogurt. I always have a few containers of Greek yogurt on the hand, and when I find myself needing a little more substance, I mix in a few scoops of granola. It's delicious, satisfying and quenchs my hunger!

Easy Tropical Granola

2 Cups old fashioned oats
3 Tbsp flax seeds
1/4 Cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 Cup pistachios, roughly chopped
1/3 Cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 Cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
3 Tbsp raw honey
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 Tsp coconut extract
1/8 Tsp Siagon cinnamon
Pinch salt
1/3 Cup dried cranberries
1/3 Cup dried mangos*
1/3 Cup dried pineapple*
1/3 Cup dried papaya*

* 1 (7ounce) bag of tropical fruit trio can be used in place of the mangos, pineapples and papaya.

Preheat oven to 325.

Combine honey and butter in a small saucepan and place over low heat to allow butter to melt.  Increase heat, once butter has melted, and bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently.  Allow mixture to boil for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add coconut extract, stir to combine.

In a large bowl combine oats, pistachios, almonds, flax seeds, cinnamon, and salt and stir to combine.  Add the butter mixture to the oat mixture and stir to incorporate, making sure everything is coated.  The mixture will seem dry at first, but continue stirring.  The longer you stir the more the ingredients will combine with one another.

Transfer mixture to a rimmed baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring the mixture every 5-7 minutes.  Remove granola from the oven when fully toasted and golden brown.  Allow mixture to cool completely.

Once the mixture has cooled add the dried fruit, toasted and raw coconut and stir to combine.  Place in airtight containers to store.

Recipe source: A Lynsey Original

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