This gluten-free granola took me several attempts to perfect and it was well worth the effort. I use it as a launching pad for so many other things – trail mix, energy bars, pie crusts, travel food, crumble topping. It has great potential. Not to mention, it’s absolutely divine as plain old granola, which is what I wanted in the first place. I love it when something you’ve worked hard to create ends up being a favorite for so many different reasons. If you come up with an interesting use for it, or a new version, please let me know. I love hearing how people tweak my recipes – plus, it’s fun to share ideas.
So, what makes this granola different?
I wanted to include flax seeds because they’re so high in nutritional value, but didn’t want to grind them and lose the crunchiness.* Because they’re so small, they get lost in the shuffle and end up at the bottom of the pan or storage container once the granola is baked. I decided to make a sticky mixture of tasty “glue” to keep the flaxseeds where they belong and part of the crunchy clusters. I’ve played with lots of combinations and so far, this one works the best.
what you need
granola fixings (dry ingredients)
1 box Arrowhead Mills GF Organic Maple Buckwheat Flakes (about 7 cups) *
1 cup almonds
1 cup pecans
1 cup flaked coconut *
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup flaxseeds
cluster “glue” mix (wet ingredients)
1/3 cup almond butter
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
dash of sea salt
what you do
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Use 2 racks placed in the middle of the oven.
2. Combine all the dry “granola fixings” EXCEPT the flax seeds in a huge bowl. Using a large spoon, gently mix ingredients.
3. Combine ingredients for wet cluster “glue” mix in medium sized saucepan over low heat; whisk/stir constantly until bubbly. Bring to low, gentle boil for about 1 minute; stir continuously. Remove from heat. It will have a semi set-up texture to it.
4. Drizzle small amount of “glue” mix over dry granola and sprinkle flaxseeds directly onto the wet mixture. See photos #1 and #2 below. The flax seeds will stick to the “glue” mixture and hopefully stay clustered onto the granola. Very gently fold mixture together. Repeat until all the sticky “glue” mix has been used and the granola is blended, but still contains clumps and clusters of goodies. Gentle, gentle mixing!
5. Spread a layer of granola mixture on two large, lightly greased cookie sheets and place one on each rack – unless you can get both cookie sheets on one rack in the middle of the oven. I just stack the two and use my convection setting, but a regular oven setting works just fine.
6. Bake for 6 to 10 minutes, remove and gently stir (try to keep clustered bunches intact). Return to oven. If you are using two racks, switch the cookie sheets and alternate putting one on the top rack and one on the rack below. Continue baking for another 45 minutes or so; taking time to remove, check, and gently stir every 6 to 8 minutes. Alternate cookie sheet placement each time. Mixture should be a uniform golden brown color. Depending on your oven temperature, this should take a total about 40 to 60 minutes of bake time. Carefully watch how the mixture browns as oven temperatures vary and this granola can burn quickly. Keep an eye on it. Don’t wander off and forget!
7. Cool completely. After the mixture has cooled, you can add raisins, dried cranberries, dates, or whatever else comes to mind.
8. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator. Stays fresh for about 5 days. Serve with milk or yogurt.
* Flaxseeds – to grind or not to grind? Flaxseeds are packed with good stuff. They’re an excellent source of omega-3s, fiber, magnesium, and potassium. They also contain the minerals phosphorous, iron, and copper. Whole flaxseed offer a nice crunch, but the nutrition in ground seeds is more bio-available, meaning they are more easily digested and absorbed. I use whole seeds in my granola and ground seeds in hot cereals and some baked goods. Buy whole seeds as they have a longer shelf life. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and grind when needed (use a coffee grinder or spice grinder).
* I use Arrowhead Mills Maple Buckwheat Flakes, but I’ve also used half Buckwheat Flakes and half Barbara’s Bakery Puffins Honey Rice Cereal (about 3 to 4 cups of each) in the past. While the Buckwheat Flakes are “guaranteed” GF, the Puffins are not – the box states they are “wheat free.” I talked to the folks at Barbara’s Bakery and they say it is highly unlikely that cross contamination occurs during production as they take precautions to prevent it, but they also can’t guarantee it since gluten-containing products are also used in the facility. The Puffins add a nice texture to the granola, but I’ve decided I’ll stick with “guaranteed” GF products.
* My favorite flaked coconut is “Let’s Do Organic” unsweetened organic coconut flakes (fancy grade). They come in wonderful ribbons of grated coconut. They toast up nicely and add wonderful texture to the granola. Check with your local Whole Foods Market.
This granola is gluten-free, yummy, nutritious, and versatile! And it travels well. Enjoy!