Cranberry Almond Granola

Cranberry Almond Granola #vegan #glutenfree.jpg

While you’re reading this, I am currently living it up in New Orleans!

Cranberry Almond Granola #vegan #glutenfree

I can’t tell you what the heck I’m doing, because Steve and I left with absolutely no plan.

Cranberry Almond Granola #vegan #glutenfree

Okay, that’s a little bit of a lie. I had 2 plans. Bourbon and beignets. Have I ever mentioned my life revolves around food? In fact, I’ve spent the last week being suuuuuper food conscious just so I could live it up a little on this vacation. I was pretty cranky for most of the week because I reallllllly hate anything resembling a diet, but I’m pretty sure it was worth it. ;)

Cranberry Almond Granola #vegan #glutenfree

Okay, enough about my trip–let’s talk about granola! One day I had the brilliant idea that I was done buying things at the store that I can make myself. I made my own Larabar replacement, and granola was the next thing. I literally eat it every single day, and it is not cheap!

Cranberry Almond Granola #vegan #glutenfree

So then, in true Ari fashion, I tried to bake like 7 things in a 2 hour time period, declared that making things from scratch was a big waste of time, and I would immediately be going back to buying granola, and granola bars for that matter, at the store.

Cranberry Almond Granola #vegan #glutenfree

But after one bite of this stuff, I was sold. As I was taking pictures, I kept sneaking little nibbles. I must have eaten at least an entire serving just during my photo session!

Cranberry Almond Granola #vegan #glutenfree

The robust, nutty flavor is more full and bold than any granola I’ve ever bought at the store. It baked up perfectly crunchy with next to no oil in the entire batch, and the soft, sweet cranberries are the perfect touch to balance out the flavors and textures.

Cranberry Almond Granola #vegan #glutenfree

Then I realized that this made enough granola to last me at least a month! 12 cups of deliciousness for about 1 hour of time? Totally worth it!

Cranberry Almond Granola #vegan #glutenfree

**Note: I wanted to add dehydrated apple chips to this, but I couldn’t find any. If you have them–they would be delicious!

 

Cranberry Almond Granola

yield approx 12 cups

adapted from David Lebovitz

  • 5 cups rolled oats (use gluten-free if that’s important to you)
  • 3 cups almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup finely shredded unsweetened reduced fat coconut
  • 1/3 cup milled flax seed
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • pinch cloves
  • heavy pinch sea salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey or agave
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 cups dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300. Line two large baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a very large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, seeds, coconut, brown sugar and seasonings.
  3. In a small saucepan, warm the applesauce, maple syrup, honey/agave, and coconut oil until well combined, whisking constantly.
  4. Add the applesauce mixture into the dry ingredients and toss to combine. Divide mixture evenly between your 2 prepared baking sheets.
  5. Bake until browned and crispy, about 1 hour. Lightly toss granola every 10-20 minutes while cooking. The more often you toss it, the less clusters you will have.
  6. Cool completely, then add cranberries. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. The granola will stay fresh for at least one month. I’ve never made a batch last any longer than that, but it’s still great a month in!

Gluten Free Almond Joy Cupcakes

Happy belated birthday to my super, awesome, lovely, beautiful friend Carolyn! If you haven’t checked out this girl’s blog, you really should. Her work outs are amazing, and she has been a total inspiration to me ever since I met her! She is also super sweet and a truly amazing friend.  She eats gluten free, and I always feel bad that when I make desserts for things, she can never eat them. So Nicole and I put our heads together to plan out some awesome surprise birthday cupcakes for her. Well, then poor Nicole got sick, but still gave me all of the fantastic ingredients I needed to carry out our plan!

My friend Christina sent me a recipe for gluten free coconut cupcakes that I used as a base. I’m not sure who it’s originally from, so dear person who created it, if you read this lil ole blog, please tell me so I can be like “Hey readers! All 3 of you! Go look at ______’s awesome recipes”. Thanks in advance. I’m a big fan of your recipe!

I altered the recipe a bit to make it healthy(ish) and put some of my own touches in. Also, Nicole gave me all of these gf flour options, so I ended up getting a little accidentally creative on the flour mix, but I think it was pretty much the happiest accident ever.

Sometimes gluten free things come with weird textures, but not these babies. Friends and family scarfed them down, and my step dad called them the best cupcakes I’ve ever made! Who knew creating recipes around different diets could be so fun? It makes me want to explore more with gf, vegan, paleo and any other fancy diet recipes. I found that I really like creating things for people who eat a certain way and may not always have foods on their plan provided.

Gluten Free Almond Joy Cupcakes

yield 24 cupcakes

For the coconut cupcakes:

  • 1 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1 cup Splenda
  • 1 cup egg substitute
  • 2 1/2 cups brown rice flour mix (see below)
  • dash salt
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut vanilla almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract

Brown rice flour mix:

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup sweet white sorghum flour
  • 2/3 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners and lightly spray with nonstick spray.
  2. Beat sugar, Splenda, and egg substitute at medium speed for approx 1 min. Add in all remaining ingredients and beat at medium speed for 1 min.
  3. Evenly divide the batter between your 24 lined cups. Each one should be about 2/3 full.
  4. Bake for 18-20 min, until top springs back when you press lightly on the middle, or toothpick inserted in center comes out mostly clean.
  5. Cool completely on wire rack, then frost with chocolate almond cream cheese frosting.

For the Chocolate Almond Cream Cheese Frosting:

yield enough to frost at least 24 cupcakes

adapted from How Sweet It Is (I love pretty much every single one of her recipes)

  • 3 x 8 oz blocks reduced fat cream cheese (you could also use fat free, I just had red fat on hand)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 oz grain sweetened chocolate chips, melted and cooled
  • 1-2 tsp almond extract

Directions:

  1. Beat cream cheese on medium speed in a stand mixer until smooth. Add almond extract.
  2. On low speed, add in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, followed by cocoa powder.
  3. Increase to medium speed and add melted chocolate.
  4. Beat until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl often.
  5. Frost and enjoy!

Optional Toppings:

  • raw sugar
  • almonds
  • shredded coconut