Wheat- and gluten-free – Make it nut-free, low carb or low in sugar
When the days get shorter and the forest floor is covered with a soft orange glow, you feel that it is time for gingerbread granola.
Granola, however, often contains wheat (gluten) and a lot of refined sugars. However attractive the granola in the supermarket may be, not everyone’s body can tolerate it. Buying gingerbread to use it in a granola is not an option either, because it contains gluten, refined sugars and often eggs.
That is why I made this delicious wheat- and gluten-free gingerbread granola which fills the entire house with its delicate cinnamon smell. The nice thing about granola is that you can use whatever you like.
What makes a good granola?
Granola consists of a combination of grains and pseudo-grains with nuts and seeds, which are covered with a layer of butter and sugar and then baked in the oven to deepen the flavor. By heating the sugars there is caramelization and the mixture becomes crunchy.
Grains (e.g. wheat*, spelt*, oat, rice or millet flakes) or pseudo-grains (e.g. buckwheat or quinoa flakes). In addition to the flakes, you can use the groats of the (pseudo-)grains for an extra crunch. I used oat flakes, but feel free to replace them with rice, millet or buckwheat flakes in the recipe below. You can find these in an organic store or online. You can also use oatmeal, but the granola will be a little less crunchy. Check the packaging to make sure that the grains do not contain any traces of gluten, in case you have to eat gluten-free.
Nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, etc.) and seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, linseed, chia seeds, melon seeds, etc.). You can really use any kind of nuts and seeds for granola. Choose what you like.
Fats such as (plant-based) butter or coconut oil.
Sweetener, preferably one with a lower glycemic load that has less effect on the blood sugar and won’t result in giving you a blood sugar spike. I choose maple syrup, coconut sugar or a banana (see the section “Variations” below).
Gingerbread spices mixture
I made a mixture with a lot of cinnamon, because I absolutely love it. For a spicy version, add ginger powder and black pepper. You could also buy a gingerbread spices mixture, but – since each mixture is composed differently by the producer – make sure to check the ingredient list in advance to decide whether you will like this. The mix should be soft-sweet for me, not too spicy.
Ingredients** (for 500g)
- 150g oat flakes
- 80g buckwheat groats (optional, but recommended for an extra crunch; replace with quinoa or extra nuts and seeds)
- 100g pumpkin seeds
- 100g cashew nuts
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tbsp nutmeg powder
- 1/4 tbsp cardamom powder
- Handful of cloves (or 1/4 tbsp clove powder)
- 1/4 tbsp ginger powder (optional)
- 1/8 tbsp vanilla powder (optional)
- 35g (plant-based) butter or coconut oil
- 35ml maple syrup or other sweetener
Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Melt the butter or coconut oil over a low heat. Rinse the buckwheat groats under cold water and pat dry. Add the flakes, groats, nuts and seeds to a bowl.
Add a pinch of salt and mix well with a spoon.
Add about half of this mixture to a food processor with S-blade and blend briefly to slightly grind the mixture. Add this mixture again to the bowl.
Add the melted butter or coconut oil and the sweetener, and mix with a spoon so that all nuts and seeds are covered.
Pour the mixture onto the baking tray and bake for about 8 minutes.
Remove the baking tray from the oven and toss the granola with a spoon. The oven will provide more heat to the corners of the baking tray, resulting in the granola on the edge of the baking tray baking harder than the granola on the inside.
Return to the oven and bake for another 8 minutes or – as every oven is different – until the granola has turned golden brown and crunchy.
Did you use full cloves? Take them out before serving.
Serve the gingerbread granola with (plant-based) yogurt and seasonal fruit – such as clementines, persimmons or baked apples – or combine it in a dessert glass with chocolate mousse.
Silently thank Mother Nature for this beautiful season with its stunning orange colors, chestnuts and mushrooms.
Then enjoy a nice autumn walk!
You can store the granola for several weeks in an airtight glass container.
Nut free? Replace the nuts with extra (pseudo-) grains or seeds. Try tiger nuts or chufas, as these are not considered to be nuts.
Low carb? Replace the flakes and groats with extra nuts and seeds.
No added sugars? Use half of a mashed banana as a sweetener. *** This way you will sweeten the granola with natural sugars from fruit. If using an entire mashed banana (resulting in a sweeter taste), make sure to leave the granola longer in the oven as it will need more time to become crunchy.
* Not gluten-free
** Please note that I generally do not measure as per the U.S. standards (in cups and spoons). A tablespoon (“tbsp”) should be understood as a regular spoon. Just to avoid any doubt 😉
*** I saw the idea of sweetening granola with a banana a while ago in Bakers and Fakers’ baking book.