Way back in June of 2009, I tried my hand at making a granola-replacement for the beau's breakfasts, and was thrilled with the results. I posted the recipe to this blog so that he could log on and see how to make it himself. Sadly, he has never pulled his finger out and made himself a batch. So, every few weeks, I'm begged to make up a new lot of it for him and, fool that I am, I do it. Why? Because I don't want him eating carby garbage. He's already started effortlessly losing weight now that he rarely strays into Neolithic Land, except for the odd lunch bought during the work day.
Over the months, I have honed the recipe to the point where I don't have to measure or think as I make it. The ingredient list has diminished to a core of never-fail elements, and I have explored use of healthier and more natural sweetening agents, such as true maple syrup, appealing to his Canadian upbringing. I use less and less sweetener every time, and he has stopped adding fruit to his granola as well, so this is helping him avoid lunchtime carb cravings.
So I present to you - Grain-Free Granola (or, as I call it, 'Nola', since there's no 'Gra' in my mix!): Theme & Variations.
1kg raw almonds (soaked if possible)
500g raw walnuts (same)
150g coconut flakes or grated coconut
3 egg whites
Optional - 2T sweetener (either maple syrup, or xylitol & a pinch of stevia)
1. Preheat oven to moderate, and line metal trays with foil or paper. I have Xtrema ceramic bakeware, so I use them as is - nothing sticks too firmly, and there's no liner waste.
2. Using about a cup of nuts at a time, depending on blender size, process nuts in a deep or sealed bowl until chunks are at the desired size. You can also chop the nuts by hand if you're keen for a long, steady workout.
3. Place prepared nuts in a large bowl, and add coconut.
4. In a small, dry bowl, beat egg whites until smooth, glossy peaks form. Add sweetener, and stir thoroughly.
5. Add egg mixture to nuts & coconut, and stir thoroughly until no egg foam is visible and everything has been coated. If you feel the egg didn't stretch far enough, whip up another white and add that to your bowl.
6. Spoon nut mixture onto bakeware, keeping the layers no thicker than an inch high.
7. Bake in oven for around 10 minutes, or until the top layer starts to become golden.
8. Remove from oven and stir mixture to bring uncooked nuts to the surface and to break apart any lumps. Replace in oven and bake for another 10 or so minutes, watching for burning. You may need to repeat this step if your batch is cooking unevenly (if you're oven is anything like mine, you'll be in this situation for an extra 20 minutes or so of stirring and replacing).
9. When cooked to your liking, remove from oven and allow to cool thoroughly before storing in an air-tight container. Don't worry if your cereal pouring container is adulterated with gratuitous corn flake imagery:
Serve with berries & cream (or coconut cream) for best results, but is also good with straight raw milk, or so I'm told. Personally, I could eat it like trail mix, by itself, so long as there's no sweetener added to the batch!
(NB: If the SAD's portion distortion has you thinking that a normal serve of such foods is upwards of two cups, I'd like to point out that just half a cup of Nola will satisfy you, especially if served with cream. The beau, being a tall boy, tends towards a full cup serving, with his milk. Eat slowly, enjoy, and listen to your leptin receptors.)
Sunny Nola - After baking, add dried fruit such as sultanas, chopped apricot, goji berries, and even dried apple slices. Good for those with a sweet tooth or those who use carbs after a workout.
Seedy Nola - add sunflower or pumpkin seeds to the chopped nuts before adding the egg whites.
Norridge (Nola Porridge) - after baking, put batch through the food processor to create a semi-fine meal. Fantastic served with warmed milk, cream or coconut cream, or just add hot water and cooked fruit.
PumpkiNola - warm and add canned or previously roasted and pureed pumpkin to your bowlful of Nola, and stir thoroughly. Top with cream, and enjoy a hearty treat!
A lovely, luxe breakfast for those mornings where you just can't face eggs and bacon. I clearly don't understand your mind-set, but I hear there are such people out there... :)