Big chunk granola that’s oil free, vegan, easily gluten free, and packed with shredded coconut and walnuts.
I don’t know when it happened. I don’t know when the world became obsessed with coconut.
Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. But it seems like five minutes ago when the biggest coconut question on anyone’s mind was, ‘Can I use shredded coconut instead of desiccated coconut?’ Or maybe, ‘Is it better to use coconut cream or milk when making a Piña Colada?’
Now it’s all about negotiating the way through coconut land. Coconut flour, coconut oil (or virgin coconut oil?), coconut yogurt, coconut ice cream, several different types of coconut milk, coconut butter, coconut water, coconut coffee creamer, coconut sugar, coconut chips… and that’s not everything.
I’m not anti-coconut or anything, but sometimes I feel like the person who’s still using a mule to get around decades after everyone else switched to cars.
So if you’re anything like me, then you’ll be pleased to know that this granola is made with one simple and not-outrageosly-expensive product: good ol’ shredded coconut.
Coconut candy has been around for years – well before celebrities starting eating coconut oil from the jar. Some versions are light-colored and creamy (like the filling of an Almond Joy or Mounds/Bounty candy bar), while other types are darker because they’re made using caramelized sugar.
This granola’s based on the second version: rich, dark caramel-flavored goodness.
To avoid adding too much sugar to this ‘candy’ granola, we’re relying on my old friend blackstrap molasses to add plenty of flavor. Blackstrap molasses are pretty potent, so you don’t need much. Plus, this dark syrup is (apparently) packed with iron and calcium.
Since there’s nothing like biting into a giant chunk of granola, this recipe makes big, chunky pieces. The key is to avoid stirring or mixing the granola while it’s baking.
You can rotate the baking sheet to avoid burning if your oven has hot patches (to make sure one part of granola doesn’t brown before the rest). But don’t even think about getting out a fork and stirring that cereal. Once it has baked and cooled – and not a moment earlier – you can break it into chunks.
Unless, of course, you’re not after chunks. Then you can stir or otherwise manhandle the granola to your heart’s content.
(But everyone loves giant granola chunks, right?)
On a related note, Guam is holding it’s Democratic primary (for the US election) today. Admittedly, I know virtually nothing about Guam. But I do know one thing about the territory: coconut candy is a popular treat over there.
So, the way I see it, that’s a good reason to eat some giant chunks of coconut candy granola. (Okay, don’t think that one through – food logic doesn’t need to make sense).
Question of the Day
Are you on board with all things coconut? Is coconut oil really a wonderful ingredient, or just the latest (and expensive) fad?
- ¼ cup (60mL) maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons (35g) almond butter
- 2 tablespoons (25g) brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons (30mL) blackstrap molasses
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (200g) rolled oats
- ⅔ cup (50g) shredded coconut
- ⅔ cup (85g) chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 340°F (170°C). Line a large baking sheet with non-stick paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, almond butter, brown sugar, blackstrap molasses, vanilla extract and salt.
- Add the rolled oats, shredded coconut and chopped walnuts. Mix until well combined.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 18 - 22 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, or until the granola is golden brown. Avoid mixing or stirring the granola.
- Allow the granola to cool completely. Once cooled, break it into chunks and store in an airtight container.
If desired, add ½ - ¾ cup mix-ins of choice (such as dark or white chocolate chips, raisins, dried cranberries or chocolate covered coffee beans). Add the mix-ins once the granola has baked and cooled.
Make sure you use certified gluten-free oats if you need to make this recipe gluten-free.
When done, the granola should be a little crunchy (especially around the edges of the tray), however, it will become crunchier as it cools.
Don’t mix the granola around during baking, or while it’s cooling.