Purple Carrot Nutrition
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Recipe: Vanilla Bean Maple Granola

by Janelle Zakour RD

I first got serious about granola making when I came across acai bowls being sold on the local market. And usually when I try something for the first time, I like to retreat to the bat cave to do some experimenting of my own.

The flavours of this are in no way Caribbean in nature, but more like a tribute to my best friend and former Acadian roommate Alyssa, who hails from the Northwest Territories.  On her second visit to Trinidad, she brought with her the most ahhmazing organic maple syrup that I guarded with my life.

Don't come between a girl and her maple syrup.

Fights will ensue.

Really, just don't.

When I do make this granola recipe, it materializes in obscenely large amounts. I can never do anything in small batches. Tis either because of my catering experience or because when you're cooking for 10 people (I live in a full house), there is no such thing as too much food.

So granola is pretty nifty to have around when a snack attack hits. Or on the trail when adventure racing. Or when you need a last minute gift.

Let's just say it's handy in general.

I scaled down the recipe to a 2-tray end result, but if you really don't need that much granola in your life, just cut the recipe in half.

(You really do need that much granola though... just saying.)

WARNING!! This will make your kitchen smell absolutely glorious.

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VANILLA BEAN MAPLE GRANOLA
 

Adapted from Buzzfeed. Makes 2 large trays

Ingredients
6 cups rolled oats
3 cups slivered almonds (the BEST part, trust me!)
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup dark maple syrup
1/2 cup honey (or 3/4 cup if you like a sweeter granola)** substitute honey for either more maple syrup or another liquid sweetener like yacon if vegan
3/4 cup virgin coconut oil
2 tsp Himalayan pink salt (do NOT leave this out!)
1/2 tsp vanilla bean scrapings
2 heaping tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon** optional

Preparation
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Measure out all ingredients.
Dump in a large mixing bowl and stir well until combined.
Divide the mixture between 2 parchment lined baking trays. 
Bake for about 30 to 45 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon after the first 20 minutes. Keep checking and stirring every 15 minutes.
The granola is done when the mixture is a lovely golden brown and your kitchen is totally permeated with vanilla maple perfume. I'd seriously wear this scent if I could.
Cool completely in the pan and store in ziplock bags or airtight containers.

Notes
When using the same cup measure, I like to measure out the coconut oil before the maple syrup / honey to create a non-stick surface. Easy trick to ensure that no sweet goodness is left behind. Rub a little coconut oil on the sides of the sheet trays to avoid the stickiness from caramelizing on the trays. It's a pain to scrub that off.

If you do not have a convection oven, you may need to keep alternating the trays between top and bottom racks for even baking.
The mixture is good enough to eat raw (I tend to sneak in a few spoonfuls... shh) but even better when baked!!