Today I’m giving you a healthier breakfast recipe, because let’s be honest, we need to have some variety in the morning other than muffins and scones from time to time! And after watching my brother-in-law run his first marathon in LA this past weekend (he did amazingly well btw!) I’m feeling a bit inspired to fuel my body with more nourishing foods and just be a bit more mindful of what I eat! Don’t worry… we will go back to our regularly scheduled programming next week (aka there will be cake).
A couple of weeks ago, my sister and I were sharing our recent Trader Joe’s finds with each other and it was then that I learned about a new-to-me granola. Lately, I’ve been eating more and more Greek yogurt to get some more protein in and I had been eating it with an almond butter granola (also from Trader Joe’s of course). But my sister said that I just had to try this coconut one because it wasn’t that sweet and just had an amazing flavor. So, the next day I bought myself a package and after a bite or two (or 10), deemed it my new favorite granola.
My next thought was to make my own version of it at home, using “healthier” sweeteners and less unwanted ingredients than the Trader Joe’s version, and then share it on the blog. And I’m thrilled to report that the outcome was amazing, and that I successfully made a better version than the store bought.
Roughly following the guidelines to my other granola recipe, I wanted to make the granola as coconut-y as possible and achieved this by including 4 types of coconut: 1) unsweetened shredded coconut flakes, 2) unsweetened coconut chips, 3) coconut sugar and 4) coconut oil. If you don’t like coconut, I think it’s safe to say that this recipe isn’t for you.
And because coconut is a tropical fruit, I chose a nut that reflects that sentiment: macadamia nuts. Whenever I think of macadamia nuts, my mind immediately goes to images of Hawaii and therefore I figured coconut would work so well with it. Luckily, I was right and the buttery nuts pair exceptionally well with the sweet coconut. I do want to add though that macadamia are fairly expensive - they’re actually the most expensive nuts in the world - so if this is out of your budget, I would swap in almonds (slivered or sliced).
One aspect of the coconut granola from Trader Joe’s that I added to mine was the addition of corn flakes. It was one of the main reasons why I enjoyed their version so much and it was an ingredient I would have never thought to add to granola. The corn flakes (not to be confused with sugary frosted flakes!) make the granola suuuuuper crunchy and also add a nice flavor. This addition is probably my favorite part to the granola.
Unlike my last granola, I wanted to make today’s much more chunky and cluster-like. This can be achieved by not touching the granola when it’s baking in the oven nor when it’s taken out. The trick is to wait until the granola is completely cooled; at that point, you'll be able to break up the granola into an assortment of shapes and sizes. If you try to break it up hot out of the oven, the granola will easily break up and you’ll lose any chance of clusters.
Please give this granola a chance! The smell alone is insane and the crunchiness and flavor makes it so addicting. If you’re not a coconut fan, maybe plan on making a batch and gifting it to a friend or family member… I’m actually making another batch of this tomorrow to bring to my sister this weekend
Coconut + Macadamia Nut Granola Clusters
Yields about 8 cups
3 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups cornflakes, crushed
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
1 cup unsweetened coconut chips
1 cup unsalted macadamia nuts, whole or roughly chopped
2 tsp. coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 300°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and stir well using with a spoon or spatula.
Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, rotating the pan about halfway through. The granola will be a deep golden brown color.
Place the baking sheet on a cooling rack and allow the granola to cool completely (this can be hastened by placing the baking sheet in your fridge). Carefully break the granola into bite size clusters. Enjoy plain or with yogurt and fruit. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.