Monday, December 28, 2015

Sticky Toffee Date and Gingerbread Granola

In the crush of computer problems, visitors, lesson planning, traveling and various pet issues with multiple vet visits (a very long, cat / rat / dog story), one thing I never got around to this season was taking many photos! Often, my smartphone was standing in place of my gorgeous (albeit bulky) point-and-shoot, and those I did take with the P&S have yet to be uploaded / edited because there's always something else in the making! That said, all horrible photos aside, the stuff that's been coming out of the oven these days has been nothing short of delicious!


Of course, all of this is just a cover for the fact that I totally forgot to take any photos of these two amazingly hearty, chunky, stick-to-your-ribs granolas I whipped up for my Christmas boxes this year. I was definitely inspired by a few of my favourite desserts this year (as if the "Date Square" Granola wasn't enough of a hint) and quickly went about doing my "thing" with the mixes - which is to say throwing every grain and avenue of flavouring I had at them. As a result, my Sticky Toffee Date batch is definitely more on the decadent side of things, but it's also significantly higher in protein thanks to the high-protein hot cereal mix I added to the oats, ancient grains, nuts and seeds. A good dollop of date paste, date molasses and a sprinkling of toffee bits don't hurt matters in the flavour department either - and it's not like you're going to sit down to a giant bowl of this stuff every morning! Well, you might, but I'm not judging :-)

If you're on the dessert flavour train with me, but are looking for a little bit of a lighter option for your granola, the Gingerbread recipe is definitely one for you! It's packed with apple butter and pumpkin puree and gets it's sweetness from molasses and stevia - no refined sugar added! For more of a "cookie" aspect I tossed in a handful of graham cracker crumbs, which along with the instant oatmeal helped the clusters "clump" and make a truly chunky granola. A few pumpkin seeds added a little extra crunch for kicks too, and like the Sticky Toffee Date variety, I added some kinako for an extra protein and fibre boost.

So, apologies for the lack of photos, but please don't let that dissuade you from whipping up a batch or two for yourself. Who knows, it could be the kickstarter for your New Years Resolution to eat better (or at the very least, breakfast!).

Sticky Toffee Date Granola
Makes 8 cups, 16 (½ cup) servings
1 cup date paste
¼ cup date molasses or honey
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp butter flavour
1 tbsp butterscotch schnapps (optional but yummy!)
½ cup water
2 tbsp canola oil
½ tbsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
Pinch of salt
2 cups large flake rolled oats
2 cups high protein hot cereal (I used Dixie Diner’s Cinnamon & Spice Low Carb Instant Hot Cereal)
⅓ cup raw millet
2 tbsp amaranth
⅓ cup shredded coconut
½ cup kinako
½ cup chopped almonds
½ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup toffee bits
¼ cup raisins
5 dried figs, diced
  1. Combine all the “wet” ingredients and seasonings (date paste through salt), then add remaining “dry” ingredients except toffee bits, raisins and figs, stirring well.
  2. Bake on a lined baking sheet at 300F for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so until oats are golden. Turn off the oven and let stand inside for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from the oven and immediately stir in Skor bits, raisins and figs. Cool on the sheet.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 320.3
Total Fat: 9.3 g
Cholesterol: 1.0 mg
Sodium: 321.7 mg
Total Carbs: 44.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 9.7 g
Protein: 17.6 g

Gingerbread Granola
Makes ~ 9 ½ cups, 19 (½-cup) servings
⅓ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup apple butter
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp molasses (not blackstrap)
¼ tsp liquid stevia
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cloves
½ tbsp vanilla
1 ½ cups large flake rolled oats
½ cup instant oats
⅓ cup graham cracker crumbs (Mary's Gone Crackers makes a refined-sugar free graham!)
½ cup kinako
3 tbsp millet
½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  1. Combine all the “wet” ingredients and seasonings (pumpkin puree through vanilla), then add remaining “dry” ingredients, stirring well.
  2. Bake on a lined baking sheet at 300F for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so until oats are golden. Turn off the oven and let stand inside for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from the oven and cool completely on the sheet
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 93.7
Total Fat: 2.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 46.7 mg
Total Carbs: 14.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.6 g
Protein: 3.1 g

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