I first made this granola as gifts for friends and family at Christmas. The year before I made a cinnamon apple variety, which was good, but this was definitely better. It's a crunchy fusion of nuts and seeds that is sweet from the coconut and maple syrup, but kept in check by the bitterness of the cacao nibs. Though the nibs make for a more expensive addition, I recommend including them to keep the granola balanced, nutrient dense, and not overly sweet.
- Cacao refers to the raw, unrefined bean of the cacao tree. The nibs are flakes and pieces of the beans, which are most commonly processed and used to make chocolate. Cacao nibs have not been sweetened, but it is important to think of them as an indulgence and not an everyday food. Cacao is high in minerals like magnesium, zinc, and copper, but is also quite stimulating so may want to be avoided before bedtime. Some eat cacao for its spiritual properties too. It's said to open the heart chakra and enlighten the individuals who consume it.
- Zinc is one of those 'hard to find' minerals since it is one of the nutrients (as well chromium, sodium, cobalt, and manganese) that is most affected by refining. 50% of the zinc content of legumes is lost during cooking and 75% of the original mineral is lost during the processing of wheat. Oral contraceptives, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption also deplete zinc stores within the body. So where can you find zinc? Pumpkin seeds! They are an incredible source, which helps with tissue repair, balancing blood sugar, and male fertility. Pumpkin seeds have also shown to help reduce prostate cell production therefore helping to prevent prostate enlargement. A teacher once told us to consume, "zinc for the dink" to help us remember the many benefits this mineral has on male health and I, like you now, have not forgotten since. Pumpkin seeds are also an excellent source of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, tryptophan, and iron. Be sure to buy the raw ones and keep them refrigerated to protect their nutrients and increase their shelf-life.
2 cups oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup almonds or hazelnuts, chopped
1/2 cup cacao nibs
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2-3 teaspoons cinnamon
sprinkle of sea salt
Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Spread evenly on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes until slightly golden. Stir once halfway through. Allow to cool before consuming or storing.
- Mateljan, G. (2007). The world’s healthiest foods. Seattle: George Mateljan Foundation.