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Almond Butter + Cranberry Granola (gluten-free + vegan)

November 28, 2014 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Hi everyone! My apologies for again being on hiatus for the past few weeks…I’m trying to think of what I was busy with, but I don’t have a good excuse, so I’ll just say I was preoccupied with back bends and making Proust questionnaires (which I renamed “Dates and Figs”) for my friends.

In any case, I hope you all had a wonderful, (somewhat) relaxing Thanksgiving filled with food, family, and friends. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to go to Paris like I did last year (next year, though, is a different story), but I had an absolutely lovely meal at home with my parents. I cooked everything myself, and thankfully, everything turned out deliciously.

For the turkey, we got a heritage breed bird from our friends at Saugatuck Craft Butchery, which I spatchcocked (or butterflied) by hand and dry-brined with salt, pepper, fresh sage, thyme, and allspice for 24 hours, then roasted with onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and white wine in a super hot oven for an hour and fifteen minutes. It was beautiful–crispy, golden-brown skin all over–and both the white meat and dark meat were moist and flavorful. I’m thinking it’s the best turkey we’ve ever had, if I do say so myself.

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For side dishes, I made a cornbread stuffing with chestnuts, onions, apples, and celery (of course I made the cornbread myself), an orange cherry-cranberry sauce with shallots, roasted brussel sprouts and purple potatoes, and a tasty gravy with homemade turkey stock and the pan drippings.

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And what would Thanksgiving be without a pumpkin-flavored dessert? I made a pumpkin cheesecake with a graham cracker crust…and yes, I made those graham crackers from scratch. Worth it? YES YES YES. Yum.

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I am so thankful for all of the incredible food we shared. I would have preferred to have spent Thanksgiving with no one other than my mom and dad.

You might think I’m completely sick of cooking at this point (I’ve probably spent upwards of 12 hours in the kitchen over the course of the past two days), but no. I’ll be back in there today whipping up another batch of this almond butter and cranberry granola, which we can never seem to keep for very long around my house.

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Sweet, crunchy, and nutty, this granola is perfect for throwing in yogurt or topping a smoothie bowl. I love when it forms clusters and you just bite down into a mouthful of cinnamon and almond.

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Me personally, I love oats. There’s something about their flavor and texture that is just so appealing…I don’t know what it is. They seem to go so well with everything, especially with the tartness of the dried cranberries and slight hint of vanilla I put in this recipe.

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If you’ve been buying granola from the store, STOP. NOW. Making granola at home is a breeze, and besides, you can control everything that goes in it, greatly reducing the sugar content and removing all of the crappy additives you often find (glycerin, anyone?). Simply preheat the oven to 350 degrees, mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl…

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…heat the wet ingredients together to melt them…

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…pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, mix to combine, and spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet…

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…and bake until golden-brown and crispy! Just top with cranberries when it comes out of the oven and dig in.

This recipe is also very easy to adapt, too. If you can’t do oats, substitute them with raw buckwheat groats and/or more almond slivers or other nuts. If you can’t do almonds (or nuts), substitute them with sunflower seed butter and either pepitas or sunflower seeds. If you want to reduce the sugar content even more, feel free to scale back a little on the coconut sugar and maple syrup–just don’t eliminate them altogether, because that would be absolutely disgusting.

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Almond Butter + Cranberry Granola

Ingredients

Prep Time 10 min
Cooking Time 35 min
Total Time 45 min
Yield A lot of granola

5 cups of gluten-free rolled oats

1-2 cups of blanched almond slivers (optional)

1/4 cup of coconut sugar (or unrefined cane sugar)

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 cup of coconut oil

1/3 cup of maple syrup

1/2 cup of smooth, unsalted almond butter

1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1 teaspoon of almond extract

1/2-3/4 cup of unsweetened dried cranberries

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a large rimmed baking sheet with coconut oil.

In a large bowl, mix together the rolled oats, almond slivers (if you’re using them), coconut sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside while you mix together the wet ingredients.

In a small saucepan, combine the coconut oil, maple syrup, and smooth almond butter. Turn the heat to medium-low and whisk together until the coconut oil has completely melted.

Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and almond extracts.

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir everything together with a spatula. Make sure you don’t break up too many clumps–granola clusters are the best part.

Spread the granola onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Stir, then bake for another 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes to ensure even browning.The granola is done when it is golden brown and firm to the touch.

Immediately upon removing the granola from the oven, sprinkle it with the dried cranberries and let it cool completely before serving. Yes, that means don’t eat it all as soon as it comes out of the oven. Because I may or may not have done that.


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Pictured above: one of my favorite smoothie bowls, an acai-banana-cacao bowl with the granola, goji berries, hemp seeds, and cacao nibs. 😀

What is your favorite flavor of granola? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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Almond Butter + Cranberry Granola

November 16, 2014 Print this page

Crunchy, sweet, and just a bit chewy, this granola will add a pop of “YUM” to anything you put it in, be it yogurt or a smoothie. Heck, this is tasty all by itself! For a paleo version, substitute a variety of chopped nuts (I recommend almonds and/or walnuts) for the oats; for an oat-free version, substitute raw buckwheat groats for the oats; and for a nut-free version, substitute more oats or buckwheat for the slivered almonds and add some sunflower seeds, if you’d like, and use sunflower seed butter instead of the almond butter.

Ingredients

Prep Time 10 min
Cooking Time 35 min
Total Time 45 min
Yield A lot of granola

5 cups of gluten-free rolled oats

1-2 cups of blanched almond slivers (optional)

1/4 cup of coconut sugar (or unrefined cane sugar)

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 cup of coconut oil

1/3 cup of maple syrup

1/2 cup of smooth, unsalted almond butter

1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1 teaspoon of almond extract

1/2-3/4 cup of unsweetened dried cranberries

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a large rimmed baking sheet with coconut oil.

In a large bowl, mix together the rolled oats, almond slivers (if you’re using them), coconut sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside while you mix together the wet ingredients.

In a small saucepan, combine the coconut oil, maple syrup, and smooth almond butter. Turn the heat to medium-low and whisk together until the coconut oil has completely melted.

Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and almond extracts.

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir everything together with a spatula. Make sure you don’t break up too many clumps–granola clusters are the best part.

Spread the granola onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Stir, then bake for another 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes to ensure even browning.The granola is done when it is golden brown and firm to the touch.

Immediately upon removing the granola from the oven, sprinkle it with the dried cranberries and let it cool completely before serving. Yes, that means don’t eat it all as soon as it comes out of the oven. Because I may or may not have done that.


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Almond Joy Brownies (gluten-free + vegan)

November 11, 2014 1 Comment Print this page

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OK, so I was planning this recipe for Halloween (otherwise known as my best friend Natalie’s birthday), but that wound up just not happening. Conveniently, Halloween was also the end of the academic quarter, which meant that I had at least one test or essay for every class the week prior.

Oh well. I don’t think anyone would ever say no to brownies, even if they were two weeks late…right?

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Honestly, brownies are one of the hardest desserts to make exciting. I mean, there’s plenty you can do with chocolate chip cookies, for example: change up the add-ins (perhaps make them cranberry-almond cookies, or white chocolate macadamia nut cookies), use different flours (hazelnut flour or add in cocoa powder), flavor with a special extract (peppermint or coconut, maybe)…but brownies? I suppose you could add extra chocolate or some nuts, but other than that, brownies are neither the most stunning nor the most creative of desserts.

That’s what I thought until now, at least.

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Chocolate and coconut are a match made in heaven. Chocolate-covered almonds are glorious. So why not combine chocolate, coconut, and almond?! Genius. While I called these Almond Joy Brownies to appeal to my (primarily) American crowd, they were also inspired by a Bounty bar, which is really popular in Europe.

As you may (or probably don’t) recall, the Bounty ice cream I had at Fenocchio in Nice two summers ago was heavenly…and these brownies taste faintly like that incredible frozen treat.

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Oh, France. I miss you and your ice cream dearly.

Anyway, even though it isn’t Halloween anymore, these brownies will still make your day ten times better. Maybe a tasty Thanksgiving dessert for those who hate anything with cinnamon, apples, and pumpkin? (Do those people even exist?)

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These might seem complicated to make, but they’re actually quite easy! Simply make up the brownie batter…

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…bake it, top with a yummy coconut mixture and some almonds…

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…then drizzle with chocolate and say HALLELUJAH!

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And you really want to get to that hallelujah part, right?

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Almond Joy Brownies

Ingredients

Prep Time 2 hr
Cooking Time 30 min
Total Time 2 hr 30 min
Yield 16 brownies

FOR THE BROWNIE (recipe adapted from here):

3.5 ounces of dark chocolate chips

1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk

3 tablespoons of coconut oil

1/2 cup of pumpkin puree

1/2 cup of maple syrup

1/4 cup of coconut flour, sifted

1/4 cup of tapioca flour

1/4 cup of cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

A generous pinch of salt

FOR THE COCONUT LAYER (recipe adapted from here):

2 1/2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

1/4 cup of maple syrup

1/4 cup of full-fat coconut milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

A pinch of cinnamon

A pinch of salt

TO FINISH:

16 dry-roasted, unsalted almonds

1 ounce of dark chocolate, melted

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Grease well with coconut oil and set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate with the unsweetened almond milk and 3 tablespoons of coconut oil. Heat over medium-low, and once the chocolate just melts, take it off.

Pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup of maple syrup, coconut flour, tapioca flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and a generous pinch of salt. Mix on low to combine, scraping down the bowl once or twice to make sure everything gets incorporated.

Using a spatula, spread the brownie batter into the prepared pan, then place in the preheated oven. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the brownies comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Let cool at room temperature for 15 minutes, then transfer to the fridge to cool for 1 hour. Meanwhile, make the coconut layer.

In the bowl of a food processor, process 1 1/2 cups of shredded coconut with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil until the consistency of a thick paste, about 3 minutes. Next, add the coconut milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt along with the remaining 1 cup of shredded coconut, and pulse several times to combine. If necessary, add more shredded coconut to thicken and more coconut milk to thin.

Once the brownies have finished cooling, remove them from the fridge and, using a combination of your hands and a spatula, spread the coconut layer on top. Top with the 16 almonds, placed in whatever positions you desire. Put the pan with the cooked brownies, coconut layer, and almonds in the freezer for 30 minutes to cool further and harden slightly.

After the 30 minutes have elapsed, drizzle the pan with the melted chocolate. Let harden in the fridge for 1 hour more before slicing and enjoying.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.


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What are some of your favorite ways to make simple brownies a little more exciting? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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Almond Joy Brownies

November 11, 2014 Print this page

Brownies are delicious…but wait and see what happens when you top them with a sweet shredded coconut mixture, almonds, and a dark chocolate drizzle. Amazingness happens, that’s what.

Ingredients

Prep Time 2 hr
Cooking Time 30 min
Total Time 2 hr 30 min
Yield 16 brownies

FOR THE BROWNIE (recipe adapted from here):

3.5 ounces of dark chocolate chips

1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk

3 tablespoons of coconut oil

1/2 cup of pumpkin puree

1/2 cup of maple syrup

1/4 cup of coconut flour, sifted

1/4 cup of tapioca flour

1/4 cup of cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

A generous pinch of salt

FOR THE COCONUT LAYER (recipe adapted from here):

2 1/2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

1/4 cup of maple syrup

1/4 cup of full-fat coconut milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

A pinch of cinnamon

A pinch of salt

TO FINISH:

16 dry-roasted, unsalted almonds

1 ounce of dark chocolate, melted

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Grease well with coconut oil and set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate with the unsweetened almond milk and 3 tablespoons of coconut oil. Heat over medium-low, and once the chocolate just melts, take it off.

Pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup of maple syrup, coconut flour, tapioca flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and a generous pinch of salt. Mix on low to combine, scraping down the bowl once or twice to make sure everything gets incorporated.

Using a spatula, spread the brownie batter into the prepared pan, then place in the preheated oven. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the brownies comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Let cool at room temperature for 15 minutes, then transfer to the fridge to cool for 1 hour. Meanwhile, make the coconut layer.

In the bowl of a food processor, process 1 1/2 cups of shredded coconut with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil until the consistency of a thick paste, about 3 minutes. Next, add the coconut milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt along with the remaining 1 cup of shredded coconut, and pulse several times to combine. If necessary, add more shredded coconut to thicken and more coconut milk to thin.

Once the brownies have finished cooling, remove them from the fridge and, using a combination of your hands and a spatula, spread the coconut layer on top. Top with the 16 almonds, placed in whatever positions you desire. Put the pan with the cooked brownies, coconut layer, and almonds in the freezer for 30 minutes to cool further and harden slightly.

After the 30 minutes have elapsed, drizzle the pan with the melted chocolate. Let harden in the fridge for 1 hour more before slicing and enjoying.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.


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