I absolutely love the flavours in food that are associated with this time of year. More so the baking that goes on, with the delightful aromas that fill my kitchen and spread throughout the rest of the house. Shortbread is right up there as being one my favourite holiday cookies, although gingerbread definitely takes first place! I just couldn’t imagine the holidays without its sweet and spicy flavours. So for my love of gingerbread, I decided to create a gingerbread-flavoured granola with a chocolate twist, by making a seasonal variation of my original granola recipe.
Granola is simple to make and easily adaptable to whatever nuts and seeds you have on hand. It makes a wholesome breakfast or a tasty long lasting energy snack. I like to roughly chop my nuts by hand, but feel free to use a food processor and pulse them into small pieces if you like. Just remember not to process them too small, as you want the granola to have some texture.
Please don’t be alarmed when you see 4 different types of sweeteners in the ingredients, as they all have their role to play in this recipe. The rice malt syrup is barely sweet and it has the wonderful ability of sticking everything together, so you are left with lovely clusters. The coconut sugar and maple syrup give a subtle sweetness. While the molasses gives the granola a warm depth of flavour, as well as enhancing the gingerbread flavour.
Mixed throughout the applesauce, coconut oil and sweeteners are the traditional flavours of the season, being the ground spices of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. These give the granola that spicy gingerbread taste, without overpowering it. Then the last of the flavours is a little vanilla extract and of course the chocolate element, which is from the raw cacao powder.
The granola is ready when it’s nicely browned and when there isn’t a lot of moisture left in the clusters. However, they will still feel a little soft at this stage, but will soon become firm and crunchy once cool. When the granola has completely cooled, you can then stir through your extras. I used roughly chopped ginger, cranberries, and chocolate chips, as these particular add in’s give this seasonal granola a whole new level of deliciousness and decadence. Just the thing you’re craving for over the holiday period!
Being full of seasonal flavours, there’s another added bonus with this recipe too. If you’re looking for an easy to make, and tasty holiday gift, just bake up a batch of this granola to give to your family or friends. There are then lots of creative ways in which you can present your gift of taste. Such as placing it in a plain or festive cellophane bag, and then tying it off with ribbons and matching gift tag. You may want to use a decorative tin or Mason jar, complete with a festive label and topped off with a bow. However you decide to present your gift, I’m sure the receiver will adore this granola and you for giving it to them!
For accurate cup measurements, I sift the raw cacao powder before measuring, so that there are no lumps/clumps. All cup measurements are firmly packed.
112g (4.0 ounces or 1 cup) quinoa flakes
75g (2.6 ounces or ½ cup) roughly chopped raw almonds
75g (2.6 ounces or ½ cup) roughly chopped raw cashews
60g (2.1 ounces or ½ cup) roughly chopped pecan nuts
60g (2.1 ounces or a scant ½ cup) pistachio nuts, chopped in half
50g (1.8 ounces or ⅓ cup) sunflower seeds
48g (1.7 ounces or ½ cup) desiccated coconut (I use this brand)
33g (1.2 ounces or 3 tablespoons) chia seeds
125ml (½ cup) applesauce, homemade or bought
64g (2.3 ounces or ½ cup) coconut sugar OR 60g (2.2 ounces or ⅓ cup) light Muscovado sugar or light brown sugar
60ml (¼ cup) rice malt or brown rice syrup (I use this brand)
39g (1.4 ounces or 3 tablespoons) coconut oil, melted (I use this brand)
30ml (2 tablespoons) molasses
30ml (2 tablespoons) pure maple syrup
20g (0.7 ounces or 4 tablespoons) raw cacao powder (I use this brand)
2 teaspoons (10ml) pure vanilla extract
2½ teaspoons (12.5ml) ground ginger
2 teaspoons (10ml) ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) ground nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon (0.625ml) allspice
⅛ teaspoon (0.625ml) ground cloves
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) salt
50g (1.8 ounces or ⅓ cup) naked ginger, quite finely chopped (I use this brand)
44g (1.5 ounces or ⅓ cup) roughly chopped dried cranberries
50g (1.8 ounces or ⅓ cup) chocolate chips (I use this brand)
Preheat the oven to 140C and line two trays with baking paper/parchment.
In a large bowl, combine all the wet ingredients together.
Next, add the quinoa flakes, chopped nuts, seeds and coconut. Then stir through until thoroughly combined.
Divide the mixture evenly between the two trays and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove the trays from the oven and gently stir the granola. Then place them back in the oven and continue to remove and stir every 5-10 minutes until done. My granola was ready within 30 minutes.
Once it’s done, remove from the oven and allow it to completely cool on the trays first, before mixing through the dried cranberries, ginger and chocolate.
Then store in an airtight container.
Recipe by: The Gluten & Dairy Free Bakehouse
Note: all recipe oven temperatures shown are for a fan forced electric oven. Please refer to the below guide to help you adjust your oven accordingly. This recipe is shown in bold.
Oven Temperatures Chart
130C = 110C fan = 250F = Gas mark 1
150C = 130C fan = 300F = Gas mark 2
160C = 140C fan = 325F = Gas mark 3
180C = 160C fan = 350F = Gas mark 4
190C = 170C fan = 375F = Gas mark 5
200C = 180C fan = 400F = Gas mark 6
220C = 200C fan = 425F = Gas mark 7
230C = 210C fan = 450F = Gas mark 8