Mea culpa, granola on the side
I started this blog as an attempt to document my cooking experiences and growth as a cook. It was meant as a record of the types of food that I was eating, but I’ve struggled with my own decisions about what to include here and what to withhold. That conflict becomes especially troublesome when I’m busy and stressed by other things going on in my life. After months away from this space (I never planned on it being so long…), taking care of other writing work, graduate school, my job, and attempting to have some semblance of a personal life, I’m ready to return. In the past, I have worked hard to always include recipes, I may be more flexible about that moving forward.
Anyway, thanks to the readers who are still here with me, and my apologies. This post is about recreating a local product that is no longer available for purchase, RawphoriaLive’s Nutty Coconut gRAWnola. I first met Robin of RawphoriaLive in 2008 at the Des Moines farmer’s market. She was there selling her raw food*, which consisted of several types of raw corn chips and different types of granola. Robin used a dehydrator to convert raw ingredients into approximations of familiar foods. The results were delicious and I bought from her several times that year. In 2009, her products appeared at Hy-Vee and Wheatsfield Co-op, but when I contacted her about an interview she informed me that she would be shutting down operations. A few weeks later a similar notice was posted to her website (still active as of today).
While I liked her products, her nutty coconut granola was my favorite. It’s a combination of nuts, seeds, and fruits that is dehydrated into a crispy sheet that can be broken into pieces and eaten as a great breakfast on the go, or combined with greek yogurt to make a tasty breakfast/dessert. While I made this in a dehydrator (borrowed from my friend, Alex), it could probably be made in a low oven. Cycle the oven on and off at it’s lowest temperature (probably at half hour increments) for a few hours. Check and see if it’s crisp, if not, continue cycling for a few more hours.
I keep this in the refrigerator because then it stays very crisp and will last longer. The ingredients I used were tailored to my preferences, as long as you keep to dried fruits, nuts, and seeds, almost anything should work. In the ingredients I say 6 ounces of medjool dates, but anything between 5-7 ounces would work fine – the higher in the range, the sweeter your final product will be. All the nuts/seeds I used were raw and unsalted, so adjust the salt as needed if you can’t find unsalted.
There are many variations on the raw food movement and plenty of information can be found by searching the web. The main objective of raw food is to prevent food from being heated above a particular temperature, usually around 118 degrees Fahrenheit.
Coconut/Almond Raw Granola
6 ounces medjool dates
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup water
3 ounces dried, unsweetened coconut
2 ounces sunflower seeds
2 ounces almonds
2 ounces pumpkin seeds
1 ounce pecans
Remove the pits from the dates and rough chop them. Place the dates in the food processor and add the salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and lemon juice. Begin processing the dates. You want to turn this into a smooth paste with as little water as possible, so begin adding the water a little at a time and process some more each time. I ended up having to use almost a half cup.
Rough chop the nuts and seeds. I like the almonds a little on the larger side, so I chopped them less and the pecans the most. Mix the coconut into the date paste in a bowl. Add the nuts and seeds and stir until well mixed. Line a dehydrator tray or two with some parchment paper, and spread the mixture out evenly. Turn the dehydrator on and check on the granola after about 4 hours. It will probably need about 8 hours, but you’re looking for it to be breakable, not bendable.
Once the granola is done drying, break it into bite-sized pieces, put in an air-tight container, and stick it into the refrigerator. It will keep for at least a few weeks (but mine never lasts that long).