Festive Christmas Granola

Festive Christmas Granola

Festive Christmas Granola

 

I regularly make a batch of granola each month, so as it’s December I thought why not make a batch of festive Christmas granola! When I think of Christmas the colours red, green and white come to mind so I tried to incorporate these into my original granola recipe by way of pistachios, cranberries, freeze dried plums and white coconut flakes. I added christmas spices to create that nostalgic Christmas smell and flavour, and while it was baking the house literally smelt like Christmas cookies!

We have been eating this granola since the beginning of December and there’s nothing like starting your day with a bowl of Christmas cheer to put you in a festive mood. I think we’ll also be eating this granola on Christmas morning (although I suspect I will need to make another batch before then!) as the oats and nuts are nice and filling yet light enough that I know we’ll still have room for all the celebratory food ahead of us.

This Christmas granola would also make a fabulous gift, especially for someone who appreciates handmade gifts. You could seal it in a cellophane bag and tie with a festive ribbon or even better, pile it into a couple of mason jars, tie some ribbons around the tops and attach a hand written label with the recipe on it.

If you do give this recipe a try and post any pictures on Instagram I would love to see them – tag @swoon.food #swoonfood so I can come and admire them! Enjoy x

 

Any questions or comments about this recipe? Leave your comments in the section below, I love to hear from you!

 

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Festive Christmas Granola

 

 

Festive Christmas Granola

4 cups oats
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup pistachios (shelled, unsalted)
1 cup walnuts
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1Tbsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1tsp cloves
1 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp himalayan pink salt
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup freeze dried plums (or red fruit of choice)
2 cups coconut flakes

Preheat the oven to 160ºC and line two baking trays with silicone mats or baking paper.
Gently melt the coconut oil by placing in a heatproof bowl over a pan of steaming water.
Place the oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pistachios and walnuts into a large bowl. In a smaller bowl mash the banana and combine with the honey, melted coconut oil, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and salt.
Add the banana mix to the oat mix and stir well to combine, then use your hands to rub it all together. Sprinkle the granola mixture evenly over the lined baking trays, then place in the centre of the oven to bake for 20- 30 minutes, stirring halfway.
The granola is ready when it starts to colour, it will still be soft when you removed it from the oven but should crunch up as it cools. If not, return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Place the baking trays on cooling racks and allow the granola to cool. When the granola is cool enough to handle, add the cranberries, freeze dried plums and coconut flakes.
When completely cold, transfer the granola to airtight containers and store at room temperature in the pantry. This granola will last up to 6 months if stored in an airtight container.

 

Festive Christmas Granola

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla - pana chocolate style recipe

 

If you’re a raw chocolate lover you’ll most likely have heard of Pana Chocolate. For anyone who hasn’t, Pana Chocolate is an Australian based chocolate maker that produces one of the best tasting, raw, organic chocolate’s available. If you’re luckily enough to live near one of their Australian outlets you might have also tried their amazing raw desserts. For anyone who wants to see what I’m talking about, check out their popular Instagram page here. I have yet to sample Pana Chocolate’s raw desserts, but I have tried their chocolate and it’s pretty damn good as far as raw, dairy-free chocolate goes!

My eating chocolate of choice used to be milk chocolate hands down. The creaminess and melt-in-the-mouth quality of a good milk chocolate was by far my preference over a rich, dark block any day. Dark chocolate obviously has a lot more cocoa solids in it, so tends to be a lot harder with much less of the melt-in-the-mouth quality. The higher the quality of dark chocolate, the less milk products and sugar it generally has too. These days there are a lot more quality dark chocolate varieties available, including some with less cocoa solids making them not quite so hard or rich, however, they still don’t possess the same melt-in-the-mouth quality.

So I was pretty excited when I discovered Pana Chocolate as not only does it contain no refined sugar, gluten, dairy or soy, it also has a rich fudgey texture and literally melts in your mouth! It’s also organic and completely raw which means all the antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals present in the chocolate are fully intact and readily absorbed by your body. The only downside about this amazing chocolate is that it’s usually in high demand so you can’t always find it in store, and almost never find the flavour you’re after, plus it’s pretty expensive too.

Naturally this led me to try and replicate this chocolate, how hard could it be?! Obviously they’ve spent many years perfecting their recipe and method and they source specific raw cacao and cacao butter to create their unique flavour. But it’s not as hard as you may think to create a simple, fudgey, pana style chocolate that you can then add all sorts of flavourings to.

Because I love the qualities of milk chocolate I’ve created this recipe to reflect that with just 40% cacao, and combined it with sour cherries and vanilla. If you like a darker chocolate then by all means add more cacao and decrease the coconut oil quantity.

Have fun with this raw chocolate recipe, play around with the cacao percentage and try adding whatever flavourings or additions of your choosing. Nuts are great, swapping the cherries for freeze dried raspberries, or adding another flavouring such as orange all work really well. And even though the ingredients for this recipe can be a little pricey, you do end up with a lot more raw chocolate than if you were to buy a ready made bar! Enjoy x

 

Have you tried to make your own raw chocolate before? Any hints or tips or questions about this recipe – leave a comment in the section below!

 

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla

1 cup raw coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup raw cacao butter, melted
1/2 cup pure maple syrup or rice syrup
1/4 tsp himalayan pink salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 vanilla pod, scraped
3/4 cup raw cacao powder
1 cup (150g) dried sour cherries

Note: the steps below ensure that you measure the coconut oil and cacao butter quantities in their melted form. If you measure them in their dry form you will be short. The reason I haven’t given the measurements for their dry forms (even though this would be easier!) is because it’s much harder to accurately fit solid raw cacao into a cup.

Line a small tray approximately 20 x 20cm or smaller with a double layer of cling film.

Bring a small pan of water to the boil and then turn off the heat. Place a heat proof bowl on top of the pan and add 1 cup of coconut oil plus a bit extra, and stir until melted. Measure 1 cup of the melted coconut oil and pour this into a second bowl. Any extra just pour back into the coconut oil jar. Repeat this step for the cacao butter (about 3/4 – 1 cup dry cacao butter = 1/2 cup melted).

When you have the melted coconut oil and cacao butter together in the second bowl add the maple syrup and stir well using a whisk. Add the scraped vanilla seeds, salt, cinnamon and raw cacao powder and give it a good stir with the whisk until everything is well combined. Pour the chocolate mixture through a fine sieve to break up any cacao powder lumps and remove any vanilla pod remnants. Add the sour cherries and stir to combine.

Pour the sour cherry chocolate into the prepared tray and spread evenly. Place the tray in the fridge or freeze to set (depending on how fast you want it!). When set, lift the chocolate out of the tray using the cling film edges. Peel back the cling film and cut into squares. Store the chocolate in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 month or freeze for 3 months.

 

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla

Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free)

Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free)

Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free) by swoonfood.com

 

 

This maple and cinnamon buckwheat granola is what I eat for breakfast most mornings and is essentially the oat and banana free version of the crunchy maple banana granola (what Nick eats most mornings!). I couldn’t find a really delicious muesli or granola that was completely gluten free or not full of weird corn flakey things or added sugar, so I started making my own.

Buckwheat groats are a great oat substitute, especially for a granola style muesli. They’re completely gluten free and are packed full of plant protein and dietary fibre. From there I’ll usually add whatever nuts I have in the pantry, such as almonds, brazils and pecans. Pumpkin seeds and whole flaxseed are great protein and fibre sources, and add to the granola crunch. For flavour I use ground cinnamon, ginger, coconut and vanilla powder, with a little pure maple syrup for sweetness although this can be left out. After baking I’ll throw in some dried fruits like cherries, blueberries and cranberries (ideally sugar free if you can find them).

This granola is super easy to make, the hardest part is waiting for it to come out of the oven as it smells so good! When stored in an airtight container this granola will last for weeks, however, you’ll probably eat it way before then! It’s also great as a snack eaten straight from the jar or sprinkled over the top of a smoothie bowl or chia pudding. Enjoy!

 

Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free) by swoonfood.com

 

Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free)

Makes: 1 large jar

2 cups of buckwheat groats, soaked 2-4 hours
1 cup raw almonds (dried & activated if you have time – see note below)
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup whole flaxseed
1 cup desiccated coconut
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla powder
pinch himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (see note below)
100g dried super fruits such as cherries, cranberries & blueberries

Soak the buckwheat for 2-4 hours. This part isn’t optional as the buckwheat groats need to absorb some water so that they don’t go crazy hard after cooking and break your teeth! The soaking also makes them easier to digest so it’s win win. After soaking the groats wash them very thoroughly as they let off a mucilaginous substance which you want to remove completely.

Next combine the well drained buckwheat groats in a large mixing bowl with everything except the pure maple syrup and dried fruit. Stir well to combine and then add the maple syrup, again stirring well to ensure it’s evenly mixed.

Spoon the granola mix onto two lined oven trays and fan bake at 100ºC for approximately 30-45 minutes. You are aiming for enough moisture to evaporate from the buckwheat groats so that they just become crunchy and will be able to be stored in the cupboard. They will still be a little soft when they come out of the oven but you will know they are ready when they harden up on standing. If they are still a bit chewy, return the granola to the oven for a bit longer. Once out of the oven, add the dried super fruits to the granola and leave to cool on the trays.

Store this maple and cinnamon buckwheat granola in a large air-tight jar or container in your pantry.

 

Activating almonds: Simply place the almonds in a bowl and cover with filtered tap water. Leave to soak for 10-12 hours. Drain the water off and rinse well. This removes the natural enzyme inhibitors on the outside of the almonds that make them difficult for our bodies to breakdown and digest. Place the drained nuts on a lined oven tray and place in oven at the lowest fan bake temperature possible with the door slightly ajar – I use a wooden spoon shut in the door as this allows just enough gap for moisture to escape (or use a dehydrator if you have one). Dry the nuts this way for until they are dry to touch and easy to crack apart. The rest of the drying will happen with the granola. Again, this part is optional. The granola will still taste just as good without activating and drying the nuts.

Pure maple syrup: Make sure you get the real deal. There are quite a few maple syrups out there that are actually just maple flavoured sugar syrup, full of additives and often high fructose corn syrup. The real deal only lists “pure maple syrup” under ingredients and is made by a natural process of extracting the sap from maple trees, evaporating off excess water then filtering to remove impurities. While it is still a form of sugar it has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar and contains some minerals and antioxidants unlike refined sugar. Pure maple syrup is therefore a better choice of sweetener, alongside honey and coconut sugar, if you need to use a sweetener. However, it is still best used in moderation.

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Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free) by swoonfood.com

 

 

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