Monday, March 31, 2014

Granola Clusters

Have you been hearing that granola and granola bars are unhealthy? Sadly, it's true. Many of them are marketed as "healthy foods" but they are actually packed with sugar, salt, and oil. Also, most of them contains dried fruits, which has a higher sugar concentration than raw fruits. But I can't help but love granola with some soy milk or plain yogurt. So I thought, I should just make my own granola clusters so that I can control how much sugar and oil to put inside the product.

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds 
  • 1/4 cup sliced raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup sliced pecans 
  • 1 cup shredded coconut flakes 
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup 
  • 1/3 cup honey (or if you want half of that 2 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoon) 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon rum (or brandy - I used Sailor Jerry, my favorite!) 
  • 1 cup dried raisins (or any dried fruits) 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Combine the oatmeal, almonds/seeds, and coconut flakes and place them in a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes until lightly brown.
    **Make sure to stir it occasionally to prevent them from getting burnt**
  • Once they are pre-baked, place them in a large bowl.
  • Mix in the agave syrup, honey, vanilla extract, rum, and salt in the granola mixture. 
  • Once everything is well mixed, add the dried raisins. 
  • Using the same baking sheet, bake the granola for about 20-30 minutes until golden brown. 
  • Once remove them from the oven, you can mix the granola into clusters and cool them before serving. 

Before baking it in the oven 

Golden brown - after baking!

 I prefer the clusters than the bar because clusters are easier for me to eat with yogurt or soy milk. I mean, bars are certainly easy for "to-go meals" but I like the concept of sitting down at my kitchen table, eating my granola and yogurt with some coffee on the side (: 

If you prefer to lower the sugar intake of the recipe, you can certainly replace the sweetened coconut flakes to unsweetened or reduce the amount of agave or honey and replace it with other sweeteners such as stevia powder.

Another thing I want to mention about dried fruits - they certainly have high sugar content; however, I truly believe that eating raisins is much better and healthful than eating a bar of snickers or handful of m&m's. Although raisins have more sugar content and calories, I don't believe that they are empty calories such as other artificial candies and chocolates. So before you make a judgement on what you are consuming, or reading what the media says about certain food, make sure you ask yourself some questions: Is this an empty calorie or nutritious calories? 

With that being said, thank you for visiting my blog! 
From my kitchen to yours, Happy Baking! 


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