August 20, 2012
My latest breakfast trend? Acai bowls. Acai bowls are a tasty fruit and granola dish made with the purple super-berry Acai (grown in the Brazilian Amazon). The flavor is just awesome, and they give a great energy boost. The common ingredients in these bowls are the frozen Acai smoothie packs, a banana, and some juice. The bowls are topped with granola and more fruit, like pineapple, berries, and more bananas. Take that, Captain Crunch crunch berries.
Good granola is always more expensive, and after seeing several food bloggers make it, I decided it was time to give it a go. But, what kind to make?
My fellow blogger, Parsley Sage at The Deep Dish, always makes me want to book an island getaway with her creative tropical recipes. So, Parsley Sage's tropical recipes inspired me to try my hand at a coconut granola.
It was a perfect complement to the Acai bowls, too. To really infuse the coconut flavor, I used coconut oil and coconut extract. (Coconut oil is an awesome cooking oil, by the way. Give it a try!)
Granola was really easy to make, and it tasted so good. I can't wait to try more varieties!
Yields about 12 cups
2 cups shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
2/3 cup walnuts, chopped
2/3 cup almonds, chopped
6 cups old fashioned rolled oats
6 tbsp. coconut oil
1 cup honey
1 tbsp. coconut extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup ground flaxseed (optional)
Preheat oven to 324ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Place a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the coconut to the pan and cook evenly, until lightly browned and toasted. Transfer to a bowl. Return the pan to heat and add chopped walnuts and almonds. Cook and stir occasionally until lightly browned, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the oats and coconut oil to stir, storing occasionally, until the oats are lightly toasted (about 3 minutes).
Transfer the oat mixture to a large bowl and stir in the honey, coconut extract, ground flaxseed, cinnamon, and salt. Spread onto the baking sheet in an even layer. Bake, stirring every few minutes, until the granola is light golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Stir in the toasted coconut. Move the granola to one side of the baking sheet and press gently into a thick salt. Let the granola cool to room temperature. Break the dried and cooled granola into small clusters and store in an airtight container.
Source: Modified from Annie's Eats, originally from America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook