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

Vanilla and Cardamon Roasted Plums with Nut Crumble

Vanilla and Cardamon Roasted Plums with Nut Crumble

Vanilla & Cardamom Roasted Plums with Nut Crumble

 

These layered plum crumbles were inspired by a stand of delicious looking organic plums I found in the supermarket and a recipe I saw in a recent Cuisine Magazine. This is a slightly healthier twist on Cuisine’s recipe, and it’s also dairy, gluten and refined sugar free.

I’ve served these little desserts at a couple of dinners over the last few weeks and we’ve also been enjoying them as a quick week night after dinner treat. They’re a great throw together dessert that you can prep well ahead of time and have on hand for those unexpected occasions.

The vanilla and cardamom roasted plums are simply baked in the oven. I love this cooking method as apart from being quick and easy, the plums hold their shape nicely and you get a lovely syrup from their juices. All you need to do is halve the plums, remove the stones and place in a baking dish with a little water, vanilla, cardamom pods and sweetener if desired. While the plums are baking you can prepare the crumble.

The nut crumble is a healthier version of a traditional crumble topping. I used nuts and seeds, a little coconut oil, a little sweetener and some spices. The baked nut crumble keeps well in a sealed container in the pantry so if you have any left over it’s delicious with yoghurt or sprinkled over any other type of stone fruit.

To assemble the plum crumbles simply layer up the plums and nut crumble in serving glasses, dollop a little yoghurt on top and drizzle with a spoonful of fresh passionfruit.

Enjoy!

 

Vanilla & Cardamom Roasted Plums with Nut Crumble

 

Vanilla and Cardamom Roasted Plums

12 red flesh plums (omega or black doris are great)
2 Tbsp rice syrup or raw honey (optional)
1 tsp vanilla powder
4 cardamom pods, cracked
1/2 cup water

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Wash the plums, cut in half and remove the stones. Place the plums in a large baking dish and sprinkle over the sweetener if using, vanilla and cardamom pods. Pour the water over and place the dish in the centre of the oven to bake for approximately 20 minutes. The plums should be soft but still holding their shape and the liquid will have turned red. Remove the plums from the oven and set aside to cool.

Nut Crumble

1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup brazil nuts
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup coconut sugar, rice syrup or raw honey
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
2 pinches of himalayan pink salt

Place all the ingredients except the coconut oil in a food processor and blend until the nuts are broken down into large chunks. Unless you like a really fine crumble aim to keep the nuts reasonably chunky so the crumble has a good texture. Pour the melted coconut oil in and pulse until just mixed. Spread the nut crumble onto a lined baking tray and bake at 160ºC for approximately 20 minutes. The crumble is ready when the nuts just start to colour. Remove the crumble from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

To Assemble:

Place two plum halves and a little syrup into the bottom of each serving glass. Follow with a couple of spoonfuls of the nut crumble. Then repeat – spoon two more plum halves into each glass and finish with a layer of nut crumble. If you are not serving them straight away these could be covered and placed in the fridge for a couple of hours at this stage. Otherwise dollop a spoonful of yoghurt on top (I love vanilla buffalo yoghurt for this!) and drizzle with fresh passion fruit.

 

Vanilla & Cardamom Roasted Plums with Nut Crumble

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