Chunky Coconut Granola (Clean)

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How is it already Saturday? I was so looking forward to using this October break productively. I was going to finish all my college essays and come up with a Math IA topic and finish my Extended Essay and study for my upcoming math integration test and my psychology socio-cultural level of analysis test and get started on writing my psych IA and oh god I’ve done nothing. Well, then again, I didn’t do nothing. I mean, I did watch more movies than I’d normally watch in half a year, and I finished a book. Oh – and I ate a lot of food. That counts for something, right?

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I just read my first Lee Child book – Killing Floor. It’s the first book in the Jack Reacher series and I have to admit that I was mildly disappointed. Maybe my expectations were too high, or maybe the book just wasn’t as good as it’s hyped up to be. I watched the movie afterwards, which was based on a different book in the series, and I feel like I could pretty much predict aspects of every story in the series. Always has to be a damsel in distress (or any hostage really), a betrayal, a car being tailed, and Reacher shoving his thumbs in someone’s eyes. Has anyone read the whole series? Am I close?

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Oops I haven’t even told you anything about this recipe yet. I’m tired and cold. Forgive me.

Now, I have a lot of granola recipes, but this one is definitely a favourite. I’m not usually the biggest fan of coconut-flavored things, but this is seriously amazing. The granola is suuper chunky. You know granola’s gonna be chunky when the whole sheet of it just sticks together and you can break it into chunks as big as you’d like. Check this out (warning – bad quality phone pictures incoming):

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“Is that what I think it is?” YES. It’s a giant sheet of granola. You could’ve broken it in half and called it reaaally chunky granola.

Point is, this granola gives you the clusters of your dreams, and is infused with such an aromatic and sweet coconut flavour that you will not be able to resist.

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Chunky Coconut Granola

Adapted from Minimalist Baker

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (135g) old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup (40g) toasted and salted coconut flakes
  • 3/4 cup (80g) raw almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (25g) raw pecans, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) coconut sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius or 325 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, coconut flakes, almonds, pecans, coconut sugar, and salt
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the coconut oil and maple syrup over low heat and whisk until fully combined. Add in the vanilla sugar and whisk to combine.
  4. Pour the coconut oil mixture over the dry ingredients and stir together until the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated in the coconut oil mixture
  5. Spread the granola mixture evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet and bake for approximately 20 minutes. At 20 minutes, turn the pan around so that the granola bakes evenly, and bake for another 5-7 minutes. Granola has a tendency to be a little unpredictable in the oven, so keep and eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  6. When the granola is golden brown, remove from oven and allow it to cool completely before breaking it into chunks. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy!

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Chocolate Chip Almond Ice Cream (Cheat)

Summer is coming to an end (nooo), but that doesn’t mean you have to stop eating ice cream. I have so much ice cream in my freezer, I’ll probably be eating it all the way to October.

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I’m back from South Africa, and it was seriously amazing. God, I love animals. The highlights of my summer vacation were volunteering for a sea turtle conservation project in Sri Lanka and going on game drives in South Africa. Both such unforgettable experiences. I didn’t go to summer camp or write my Extended Essay (because I accidentally lost all my data oops), but nevertheless, it was a summer well spent.

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I’m quite devastated that summer vacation’s coming to an end. School starts tomorrow and I’m not academically prepared to be hit with the workload sitting around the corner. I’m not physically ready either, and by that, I mean I literally had just one night to adjust to a 6-hour time difference. Waking up at 7am will be equivalent to waking up at 1am. Welp.

But of course – I’m incredibly excited to see my friends and teachers again. Hi Anna. Hi Rebecca. Hi Bill. Hi Mr. Lugt.

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Back to the ice cream, though. This chocolate and almond ice cream is amazing. Based on the opinions of others, this recipe, and a recipe for mint chocolate chip ice cream (yet to be posted), are the best ice creams ever. That being said, they haven’t tried all the ice creams I’ve made (sometimes I’ll finish it all before anyone else can get to it – oops), but still, I stand by their opinions. This ice cream is really damn good.

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The ice cream base is a simple one – creamy and perfectly sweet. Then as the ice cream churns, you add in your chopped, aromatic almonds and the best part – the chocolate.

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I used to love making nana ice cream and pouring melted chocolate over the top, watching it set. This is the same. As the ice cream churns, you pour in a thin stream of melted chocolate, which sets instantly when coming in contact with the cold ice cream. Thus, you end up with chocolate distributed throughout all the ice cream, with chocolate in every bite, pairing beautifully with the full crunch of the chopped almonds. It’s a perfect combination, really.

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Note: Feel free to double the recipe if you wish. I made a smaller batch because my ice cream machine is quite small and I’d have to make the ice cream in two batches otherwise.

Chocolate Almond Ice Cream

Adapted from Lovely Little Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1/4 cup roasted, salted almonds, chopped

Method

  1. Freeze your ice cream maker ahead of time (according to manufacturers instructions)
  2. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the milk and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved
  3. Add in the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and almond extract, and whisk until combined
  4. Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturers instructions
  5. While the ice cream is churning, melt the chocolate in the microwave at 10-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate has completely melted
  6. When the ice cream has reached a soft consistency, pour 2/3 of the melted chocolate in a thin stream over the churning ice cream
  7. Add in 2/3 of the almonds to the churning ice cream
  8. When the ice cream has finished churning, transfer it into a storage container, and sprinkle on  the remaining almonds, and drizzle the last of the melted chocolate over it
  9. Freeze for at least 3 hours. Allow to thaw before serving.

Blueberry Almond Granola (Clean)

YAY FOR MORE BREAKFAST FOODS!

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I know that I recently posted breakfast cookies, but c’mon you can’t get enough of breakfast foods, right? I would totally be up for having breakfast for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but that’s not really likely to happen. Well, it might. Come to think of it, that should be something on my (nonexistent) bucket list – eat breakfast all day. Hell yes. I’ll make a mental note to do that for my birthday. Just kidding, my birthday’s on a Monday. I just googled (or Yahoo-ed, because my VPN is being a b****) National Breakfast Day and apparently that’s sometime in early March. Seriously? Okay, you know what – I’ll add that to my baking bucket list. I know, it doesn’t really count, but shhh…

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Alright – back to the reason you’re here: granola.

Lemme tell you a little story. One day I came home to find this a bunch of packages of food on our dining room table, and I was so excited. Unshelled macadamias – so good! I just sat there for a good half hour or so breaking apart macadamias, feeling especially proud whenever I broke off the shell and was left with a full, gorgeous, sweet, and aromatic macadamia. Sorry jk that’s irrelevant, but as I was saying, there were a bunch of packages of food, including unshelled nuts and nougats and – dried blueberries. There was this pretty big package and inside it were these perfect snack-sized packages of dried blueberries. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of eating dried fruit. If it’s in a salad or in granola, I love it, but by itself? Nah.

So, eventually we (mostly my mom and grandma) finished off the little packages of dried blueberries, and my mom decided to order another package online. Somehow, she managed to order 5 packages – each with like, 20 mini-packages inside. Okay, that’s a lot of dried blueberries. But then, as a baker, I was like, I CAN BAKE THIS INTO STUFF! I usually don’t bake with dried blueberries because they’re slightly costly and we don’t usually have them around, but now we had a good bunch of dried blueberries, so I went hunting on the web before facepalming and thinking – duh, granola.

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And now we’re here.

Here, with this aromatic almond granola that’s studded with sweet, sweet dried blueberries. Cases like these – dried fruit tastes so darn good.

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I don’t know why I haven’t tried this combo before. I’ve done lots of blueberry-white chocolate, but never blueberry-almond. That’s about to change. This is seriously such a good combo. I’ve been throwing handfuls of this granola into all my nana ice creams and onto my smoothies (after I take a photo, of course, because otherwise you wouldn’t be able to see the ice cream/smoothie underneath. Yes, I do put on that much granola).

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Blueberry Almond Granola

Adapted from Recipe Runner

Ingredients

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup silvered almonds
  • 1/2 cup whole almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius or 300 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, almonds, salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar until fully combined
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, honey, almond extract, and vanilla extract
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir together until well combined
  5. Spread the granola onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  6. Bake for 40-50 minutes until golden brown, making sure to remove the granola from the oven and stirring it to ensure that it bakes evenly
  7. After the granola is done, stir in the dried blueberries and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Chocolate Oreo Ice Cream Cups (v) (Clean)

As the summer days turn to fall, I do have one last ice cream recipe to share with you.

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Unlike the 3-ingredient no-churn cookies and cream ice cream, or the no-churn biscoff cookie butter ice cream, this one’s guilt-free, healthy, and nutritious.

Sure there’s still the black forest nice cream and the chocolate-covered mint avocado banana ie cream squares that you could indulge in without guilt, but neither of those have oreos, now, do they?

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Disregarding the oreos, this recipe is pretty good for you. As for the oreos, there’s plenty of recipes for homemade healthy oreos out there, so you could use those if you want. If not, (and only if you’re reaaalllyyyy picky), then you could omit the oreos, but come on. It’s one oreo per ice cream cup, and it really makes it so much better, so just accept oreos, alright?

Moving on.

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The base of these ice cream cups is the classic date-and-nut crust with a bit of cacao for the bonus flavor and antioxidants. The crust is soft and chewy thanks to the dates, but the nuts bring in an opposing, firm-to-the-bite texture. Throw in some cacao powder and you’ve got yourself a winning, healthy-as-f— crust.

The filling is made from coconut milk and raw chocolate. The mixture is combined and cooked at a low temperature, thus preserving all the nutrients in both ingredients.

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 Chocolate Oreo Ice Cream Cups

Makes 12 ice cream cups

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 cups soft dates, pitted (approx. 300g prior to pitting)
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Filling

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (approx. 400ml or 2 cups)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100g raw chocolate
  • 12 whole oreo cookies

Method

  1. Place the ingredients for the crust (dates, almond, cashews, cacao powder, vanilla extract, and salt) in a food processor and process until well combined. If you have a weaker food processor, process the dates until smooth before adding the other ingredients
  2. Press the mixture into silicon/flexible mini cake tins or into the bottom of a cupcake pan lined with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  3. For the filling, in a medium saucepan, heat the coconut milk until just boiling.
  4. Remove the coconut milk from heat, and add in the salt and raw chocolate, broken up into small pieces. Stir until smooth.
  5. Place a full oreo in the center of each crust
  6. Pour the coconut chocolate mixture over each oreo until the oreo is fully covered
  7. Freeze for 6 hours/overnight, until firm. Store in freezer.

Rustic Blueberry Tart with an Oat Crust (Clean)

When I say that it’s blueberry season, I mean hell yeah it’s blueberry season!

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Throughout the entire year, during my hundreds of unnecessary visits to the grocery store, I always stop to check the prices of a) avocados, and b) berries. In the past week, blueberries have been on sale – the best kind of sale there is when it comes to fruit, and is usually nonexistent – buy one get one free! Guess who stocked up?

Being a berry-lover, I couldn’t resist the temptation, and ended up buying tons of blueberries. Being a baker, I couldn’t resist the temptation of turning at least half of them into baked goods and desserts.

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The filling of this blueberry tart is pretty standard. A solid amount of blueberries with starch and sweetener. The crust is something special. It’s a healthy crust, without any refined white flour or butter. Thus, it’s also gluten-free and vegan.

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While a regular slice of blueberry tart could get you feeling full and slightly guilty, and two slices would most certainly make you a little uneasy and guilty, that’s not the case with this one. The crust is light and crumbly, while still able to hold it’s pretty tart shape.

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Rustic Blueberry Tart

Adapted from Bakerita

Makes one 8-inch tart

Ingredients

Blueberry filling

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons tapioca or corn starch

Crust

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons coconut oil, solid
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the blueberries, honey/maple syrup, and starch together until the blueberries are evenly coated in the mixture
  3. In a separate medium bowl, mix together the almond flour, oats, honey/maple syrup, baking powder, and salt until combined. Add the coconut oil and crumble it in with your hands or a fork until there no large clumps remain, and the mixture holds together when pressed
  4. Remove a heaping 1/2 cup of the crust dough for the topping and set aside. Press the rest of the dough in a loose bottom 8 or 9 inch tart pan
  5. Add the blueberry mixture onto the crust, leaving any extra liquid from the blueberries in the bowl
  6. Add the chopped pecans to the remaining crumble dough that you set aside earlier, and sprinkle on top of the blueberry mixture
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the blueberries are bubbling and the crust is starting to brown
  8. Let cool completely before serving

Crusty Muesli Bread

It’s about time I posted a recipe for bread. I make bread pretty regularly, but I’ve never photographed and recipe-tested it as much as I do for desserts/baked goods. Perhaps it’s because bread is so versatile once you get the hang of it. This recipe, in particular, supports that statement.

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I’ve made this muesli bread countless times. The first few times, I followed the recipe as it was, but then I kneaded in other add-ins, and they always work. In this recipe, I give you instructions on how to make the base of the bread – the flour and water and yeast measurements, and the rest is pretty much up to you. It’s like making muesli. You stick to a good ratio, and you can use whatever combination of nuts and seeds and dried fruit as you wish.

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I personally would vouch for 1 part seeds, 1 part chopped nuts, and 1 part dried fruit, or to be more specific, 1 part sunflower seeds, 1 part chopped almonds, and 1 part dried cranberries, as stated in the recipe, but really, it’s up to you.

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In terms of flour to water ratio, you may need to add a little more flour, or a little more water, as with all bread recipes. Different climate/humidity and the use of different flours can change the state of the dough. However, especially with experience, this isn’t usually too much of an issue.

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Note: As I stated above, feel free to use any combination of muesli-like ingredients (seeds/nuts/dried fruit) in place of the pumpkin seeds, almonds, and dried cranberries. Also, I’ve had success working with both regular bread flour and whole wheat bread flour, and I’m sure all-purpose would work as well.

Crusty Muesli Bread

Adapted from Minimalist Baker

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 3/4 tablespoon yeast
  • 3 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped

Method

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the warm water and yeast
  2. In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, mix the flour and salt. Pour the water mixture in and mix until combined. If you have a stand mixer, let the mixer knead the dough for a few minutes, but if you’re just mixing by hand or using a spatula, then stirring until combined works fine as well. The dough should be sticky.
  3. Form the dough into a ball and place into an oiled or floured bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave the bowl in a warm place to rest for 1-2 hours, until doubled
  4. Punch the dough down and transfer onto a floured surface. Using your hands, knead the dough a few times. Press the dough flat and then place the pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and chopped almonds onto the dough. Fold the dough in half a few times and knead until everything is fully incorporated. Transfer the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper*. Score the top of the dough with a sharp knife and let rest for at least 20 minutes
  5. Place a baking sheet/metal pan at the bottom of the oven*, and preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius or 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Transfer the dough into the oven and pour a cup of water into the heated baking sheet/metal pan, causing it to steam, and instantly closing the oven door*. Bake for 50 minutes.
  7. Remove the bread from the oven. The top should be browned and it should sound hollow when you tap on the bottom of the loaf.

*Alternatively to using this method to create steam, you could also bake the bread in a heavy-bottom iron pot lined with parchment paper with the lid on. It traps the moisture in, and thus, also helps with creating a crusty loaf.

Mocha Chocolate Granola (Clean)

~ Aromatic mocha chocolate granola – Easy, crunchy, and healthier granola with melt-in-your mouth chocolate chips and a hint of mocha ~

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Let’s say you were checking out my recipe index, and you demanded, “Pick one oat recipe to eat for the rest of your life.”

I’d point at this one without question.

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By the way, excuse all the weird angles with these photos. I was playing around with angles and it wasn’t until I finished editing them all that I realized that less than half of them are straight.

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Anyways, let’s talk granola. Granola is one of my favorite things to make, since I get to make up the recipe as I go. They’re so insanely diverse and customizable, and they taste so good. I always have at least two different types of granola in my kitchen. Some of them are much better than others. Those are the ones I post.

Such as this one.

It usually takes me the first bite to determine whether the granola is good or not, but I fell in love with this recipe from the moment the batch came out of the oven. It was the aroma of mocha/coffee that got me. Then I stirred in the chocolate chips when the granola was barely warm. The temperature was perfect, as the chocolate chips warmed, but didn’t melt, and then cooled down with the rest of the granola. This resulted in chocolate chips that weren’t messy and melty, they could still hold their shape, and most importantly, they literally melt in your mouth.

And obviously, alongside the chocolate, there’s the hint of unsweetened coffee, which isn’t noticeably bitter, and pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the chocolate.

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I know that this is a ‘clean’ recipe, so there isn’t supposed to be any white or brown sugar. This recipe does call for brown sugar, though you could substitute a liquid sweetener of choice if you wish, so it’s not mandatory. However, I do suggest using brown sugar in this particular recipe, because it caramelizes beautifully and the flavor just works better with the mocha and chocolate and almonds.

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Mocha Chocolate Granola

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped almonds
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or honey, though brown sugar is recommended)
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder or espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white, whisked lightly until foamy
  • 1/3-1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius, or 325 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together oats, almonds, flax seeds, brown sugar, coffee/espresso powder, and salt
  3. Stir in the olive oil, vanilla extract, and egg white, until fully combined
  4. Transfer the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the surface is golden brown
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool for approximately 10 minutes before stirring in chocolate chips, and then allowing to cool fully before breaking into pieces. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.