sweet on GRANOLA bark crunch

Honey, Maple syrup as well as nut, seeds and aromatic spices mingle for a healthy crunch.
Rolled oats baseline a variety of flavours into one wholesome treat to go.

Erratic schedules have led me through random walks and snacks on the go.
Healthy of course doesn't have to make you feel deprived...I can't live like that.

I also can't live without my nature walks...
which of course usually end up happening when I'm famished.

It seems that my body has a stubborn entity of its own...we don't always get along.
She resists me no matter how hard I try to exercise and eat well.

No matter...it's a work in progress...
I'll have to keep making efforts to satisfy her exigencies.

In comes the rolling oats and all its yummy coatings.
Strangely, the thought of making granola never really seemed to get my attention before.

It all started with one glimpse of a chef making her version of granola...
and all of a sudden, my interest was peaked.
I surprisingly became enthusiastic enough to give the seemingly boring Granola a try. 

Initially the spice variety and the combo of honey and Maple syrup are what got my attention.
Over and over again I kept tweaking several ingredients...
until one day a quasi perfect crunch was achieved.

It's so scrumptious...I really wanted to make sure not to keep it all to myself.
Here's the very simple version that follows me along on my walks.

GRANOLA  bark 
Nut and Seeds with Honey, Maple syrup and Spices

(American / Metric measures)

. 3 cups (350g) old-fashioned rolled oats
. 1 cup (130g) almond slices
. 1/2 cup (95g) sunflower seeds
. 1/2 cup (105g) sesame seeds
. 1/2 cup (100g) roasted or raw almonds, coarsely chopped
. 1/4 cup (25g) unsweetened coconut, shredded
. 1 Tbsp. (15ml) ground cinnamon spice
. 1 tsp. (5ml) ground ginger
. 1 tsp. (5ml) ground cardamom spice
. 1 tsp. (5ml) ground all spice
. 1/4 tsp. (1.75ml) sea salt
. 1/2 cup (100g) dark brown sugar, packed
. 1/4 cup (50ml) light, liquid honey
. 1/4 cup (50ml) Maple syrup
. 1/8 cup (30ml) unsalted butter
. 1/4 cup (50ml) grape seed oil (or coconut oil)
. 2 tsp. (10ml) orange blossom water 

. Pre-heat the oven to 300F/150C/Gas2
. Position the rack in the center of the oven
. Line a large (13x17inch/33x43cm) baking sheet with parchment paper.

1.  In a large bowl, mix ALL the DRY ingredients.  Set aside.
2. In a small pot, pour ALL ingredients for the syrup. On medium heat, whisk and warm up it up for about 5 minutes or so.
3.  Immediately pour the hot syrup onto the dry ingredients and combine thoroughly with a strong spatula.
4. Spread the mix flat onto the parchment paper up to the edges as much as possible.
5. BAKE for a total of 42 minutes.  Rotate the pan halfway through.
6. Once removed out of the oven, let it cool on the pan for 1 hour or more before breaking the granola into bark pieces.  An alternative is to pulsate pieces in a food processor in order to get small chunks.
. Store the granola barks or crushed pieces in an airtight tin or glass container. Place into the refrigerator if not used after a few days.  It can also be frozen successfully as well.
Variation...To make a Granola Crumble:
. Bake only for 20 minutes.  After the first 5 minutes, with a spatula, toss the granola a few times.  
Do this one more time until all looks evenly golden brown.  Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool completely before storing into a cookie tin or glass jar.  It can also be frozen into an airtight freezer bag. 

Optional - with dried fruit add-ins:
. 1 cup (160g) worth of dried fruits, chopped small: 
apricots, cranberries, cherries, dated, figs, pineapple, prunes, raisins...etc. 
NOTE:  add an extra 1/8 cup (30ml) sweet liquid to balance the recipe.

Optional - CHOCOLATE version:
. Added 1/2 cup (50g) chocolate chips. Replaced orange blossom with vanilla extract.  Added 1 orange zested.

In the past year alone, this all-around snack got baked a bunch of times. 

Is it the flavours...the crunch or the healthful factor that grabs me...I'm still not sure.  
I guess I'll have to keep on crunching until I figure it out ;o)

Have an active and healthful week everyone.

Flavourful wishes,

Comments ... ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at:  foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SWEET creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)
. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later.