Some mornings I wake up briefly reminiscing about a bowl of nectarous cereal covered in cold milk, a favorite of mine from years past when dairy and grains were regular guests in my kitchen. Sugar-coated Corn Pops and Fruity Pebbles were my breakfast of choice, moments before rushing out the door to pile into my mom's suburban for the short ride to school. Those were the days I could eat a brown sugar cinnamon Pop-Tart without much thought on its dire effects.
When I am craving cereal now, which isn't too often, I throw together some seeds with dried fruit and smother it in homemade nut milk or yogurt. It satisfies my sweet tooth and sustains me for at least a couple of hours, before I'm reaching for another nourishing snack.
For my Nut-Free Granola, I've traded out grains and nuts for a variety of seeds and sweetened them with raw honey and pure maple sugar. Feel free to omit the maple sugar if you don't have any claiming a spot in your pantry. You can easily replace it with an additional spoonful of honey, if you'd like. I really enjoy the taste of maple sugar, so I included it in this recipe. Also, if you do well with nuts, I recommend adding pistachios and cashews to this granola.
This dish is wonderful as a snack, straight out of the container (or right off the pan) and will last for two weeks in a sealed container in your fridge. For a lovely, health-giving gift, place the granola in jars and adorn them with fancy string and a homemade label.
1 cup sunflower seeds, unsalted
1 cup pumpkin seeds, unsalted
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup hemp seeds or chia seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
3 tbs. pure maple sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup raw honey
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter, unsweetened
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup medjool dates, coursely chopped
1/2 cup dried figs, coursely chopped
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
2. Cover two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
3. Place 1/2 cup of the sunflower seeds and 1/2 cup of the pumpkin seeds into a coffee grinder or food processor and pulse until seeds are chopped into pieces. (After I process mine in a coffee grinder, I have 1 part course flour and one part chopped seeds.)
3. In a large bowl, combine all seeds, including the processed portion, (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, hemp, chia) and shredded coconut.
4. Add maple sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Mix well. Set aside.
5. In a small saucepan, heat coconut oil, raw honey, sunflower seed butter and honey over low heat for about four to five minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Once it has melted and become a thick liquid, pour over seed mixture and mix with a spoon until well combined.
7. Spread granola mixture onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheets, making a thin layer by flattening with a spoon, keeping the mixture together as if you are making a giant cookie cake.
8. Heat for 1 hour and 20 minutes, stirring and flattening every 25 minutes.
9. Remove from heat. Add dates and figs to granola and mix well. Flatten mixture onto cookie sheet and let cool at room temperature for 1-2 hours. Store in an airtight container in fridge up to three weeks.
*Option: If you do well with nuts, I recommend adding 1/2 cup pistachios and 1/2 cup cashews in place of the sesame/hemp/chia seeds.