Paleo Nut and Seed Granola
Why This Recipe Works
Oats and sugar, key ingredients in most granolas, are not part of the paleo diet, so we set out to find a way to make crave-worthy granola without them. We replaced the oats with a combination of nuts and seeds, choosing different sizes and textures for lots of crunchy contrast. We also added unsweetened flaked coconut for its sweet, toasty crunch. To sweeten our granola without refined sugar, we tried combinations of maple syrup, coconut sugar, and honey; tasters preferred the clean-tasting sweetness of maple syrup. Since the nuts and coconut were high in fat, we found that just 1/4 cup of coconut oil was enough to ensure that our granola crisped nicely as it baked. Although many paleo recipes call for processing some nuts and seeds into a mealy substance, or adding fruit puree or egg whites to hold the granola together, we found this step was unnecessary; the maple syrup and coconut oil provided the perfect amount of liquid “glue” to help bind the chunks of granola. When it came time to bake the mixture, we turned to a tried-and-true test kitchen method for making super-chunky granola: We used a sturdy spatula to press the mixture into a rimmed baking sheet, then baked it gently at 325 degrees without stirring. This produced granola “bark” that we could break into beautiful chunks of whatever size we wanted. All it needed now was some dried fruit, which we added at the very end so it would stay plump (it tended to turn leathery and overly sticky in the oven).