I came up with this simplest granola a couple of weeks ago. Our family was missing some breakfast alternatives and I thought we hadn’t have good old granola — or müsli like my husband calls it even it’s baked — for a very long time mainly because there simply don’t exist worthy alternatives for healthy granola.
Tips for making the granola
It’s a good idea to choose nuts which are very low in carbs, especially if you need to watch your carbs. Very low-carb nuts are for example macadamia nuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts and Brazil nuts. Different seeds like sunflower seeds are also great.
You can use food processor for processing the mixed nuts, or simply chop the nuts with knife. I would recommend food processor, because it’s simply faster and you reach that coarse meal resembling texture quite quickly.
The most important thing is to let the baked granola rest untouched on the baking sheet until is has cooled down completely. The hot granola is soft but it will harden once it has cooled down.
But let’s take a look how to make this simple and easy granola. Place the nuts in a food processor.
Process until the result resembles very coarse meal.
Remove the blade or if you cannot do that, transfer the mixture to another bowl. Add the erythritol…
Mix with spoon until well mixed.
Add the egg white…
…until very well mixed.
Transfer the mixture on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Spread the mixture evenly with spoon.
It should be as thin layer as possible and there can be some holes or empty areas in between. Just place the baking sheet in the preheated oven.
Be extremely careful that the granola doesn’t turn too brown. It should get just a little bit of color.
After taking the baking sheet from the oven, just let the granola cool down to room temperature before even touching it as it’s very hot and soft. It gets crunchy while it cools down.
Break the cooled granola into pieces with clean hands.
My granola experiments
As I love some good old R&D with hands-on work, I roused myself and started pondering how to create really simple and healthy granola. Absolutely no grains for us, and as little carbs as possible.
First of all, I wanted the granola to be really crunchy, since we all love crunchy muesli and granola in our family. And naturally, for the crunch the granola had to be baked.
I decided to try nuts and almonds as the base for my granola. I was a bit suspicious if the nuts would be too hard option, but I was hoping that chopping them fine enough would help and the result will be nicely crunchy.
Choosing mixed nuts and almonds would ensure slightly different colors and textures. Naturally, I wanted to use nuts which are low in carbs. Well, almost all nuts are, but for example cashew nuts are higher in carbs than walnuts and hazelnuts.
Next, I needed some salt, sweetener and maybe some spices. Unrefined sea salt was a natural option for salt, but how about sweetener? Stevia or erythritol would be my two options, so which one to choose?
I finally chose erythritol crystals because they are easier to mix with the nut mixture than a few drops of liquid stevia. Moreover, I was hoping that erythritol will help reach that crunchiness because it tends to make baked goods crunchy. That’s also why you have to use erythritol with my Vanilla Toffee Butter Cookies, stevia won’t work. The cookies don’t hold together if you use stevia.
I still wanted to add some seasoning to give more flavor and to cover the possible cooling effect of the erythritol. Cinnamon was the first spice which came into my mind and actually after some thinking I couldn’t come with any better ideas, cinnamon just sounded absolutely perfect.
But that wasn’t all. Baking the nut, salt, erythritol and cinnamon mixture in the oven most probably wouldn’t bring the preferred result, so I would need still some wet substance to bind the mixture.
I was thinking of adding either oil, water or egg white. I was pretty sure that oil or water won’t give any crunch, they would just make the nuts soft and chewy. However, the idea of adding egg white to the mixture sounded perfect. I didn’t want to add a whole egg mainly because it simply would have been too much, but also because the yolk could have burned and made the granola look dull. I never tried with yolk, just with egg white, so I don’t know how the result would have turned out with yolk.
Because I wanted that extra crunchy result, the baking temperature should be high enough because erythritol gets hard at high temperatures. Or actually, it gets hard when cooling down after it has been baked at a high temperature.
My first experiment was surprisingly good, but I used erythritol a bit too sparingly. Three tablespoons wasn’t enough, but after I increased the amount to 1/3 cup (80 ml), the result was sweet and tasty enough.
Aaaand here is the recipe:
|Per 1/4 cup (60 ml):
|Per 50 ml:
In the calculations I’ve used nut mix which consists of equal amounts of blanched almonds, walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts.
Tips for variation
You can vary this granola endlessly, this is just a very basic recipe. After baking, you can add for example dried fruits and berries — if those suit your diet because they are high in carbs. You can also add freeze-dried berries, but I recommend to add them right before serving because they might lose their crunchiness if you store them with the granola.
Cacao nibs is another scrumptious addition. You can add 1.5 oz (40 g) cacao nibs to the raw mixture before adding the egg white. The cacao nibs bake quite nicely, although you can also add them to the ready, cooled granola.
An extremely indulging and delicious chocolatey variation on this granola I’m going to post to diabetes.co.uk. I’ll add the link here after they have checked and published my recipe. By the way, I’m going to publish recipes frequently there, they asked if I would be interested and of course I would be, since with this diet we managed to cure my husband’s prediabetic condition.