Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Baked Cinnamon Spice Grain-Free, Low-Carb Granola

It's it must be healthy, right?  No, not necessarily.  Granola is one of those foods that is touted as healthy but can often be so full of sugar and carbohydrate that it's no better than eating right out of the sugar bowl!  If you check out the nutritional label on a store-bought granola cereal, you'd be shocked to see that there are about 45 carbs per serving, which translates into 8-1/2 teaspoons of sugar.  You can just imagine the spike in your blood glucose that is anything but healthy for your body.  In this grain-free recipe, there are only 4 net carbs per serving and I think the taste is better than a processed, boxed variety.  I used a combination of honey and no-carb sweeteners to achieve the right touch of sweetness without overpowering the warm spices and crunchy nuts.  It makes a delicious and nutritious breakfast topped with your favorite cold, non-dairy milk or sprinkle it on yogurt, applesauce or eat it plain as a snack.  Recently I stirred some into homemade vanilla kefir ice cream and it tasted like Cookies and Cream!  I always have some of this granola around because it's simple to make ahead of time and convenient when I need a quick and easy breakfast.

Baked Cinnamon Spice Grain-Free, Low-Carb Granola
Makes 12 servings (1/2 cup each)

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup hazelnut or almond meal/flour
1/4 cup chia seeds, ground in a nut grinder (or 1/4 cup ground flaxseed)
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup melted butter (or 1/2 butter & 1/2 coconut oil)
2 tablespoons LaKanto Monkfruit Sweetener (or other erythirtol sweetener)
3/4 teaspoon Stevia powder (I use Sweet Leaf brand)
1 tablespoon raw honey, melted
10 drops of Vanilla Creme liquid Stevia, or to taste (I use Sweet Leaf brand)
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 250-degrees F.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with non-stick coconut oil spray; set aside.

2. In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix very well.  Spread the granola on the parchment paper-lined pan.  Compress it into a firm, even sheet of granola by pressing mixture flat with a rubber spatula or your hand that is protected by parchment or a plastic sandwich bag.  The granola should be about 1/4-inch thick.*

3. Bake for about 70-90 minutes, or until golden throughout (the longer you bake it, the crunchier it gets).  Remove from the oven and allow to fully cool.  Break into pieces and enjoy!  Makes about 6 cups of bite-size pieces.  Store in an air-tight container.

*If you want to make this mixture into bars, shape into 12 equal-size bars or rounds, flatten and bake as directed.  Cool bars completely before removing from pan.  Wrap each bar individually with plastic wrap, then store bars in a zip-lock bag.

Nutritional Information per 1/2 cup pieces: 260 calories, 8.7 g carbohydrate (4.6 g dietary fiber, 2.5 g sugars), 23.8 g total fat (6 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 5 mg cholesterol, 124 mg sodium, 61.2 mg calcium, 184 mg potassium, 7.1 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 4.1 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2015

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