Photo By: Blanche Shaheen/Special to the Town Crier
I make no secret of my sweet tooth. When my mother would make baklava, a popular dessert in Middle Eastern households, she knew I could scarf down a couple of pieces with coffee for breakfast during high school.
My metabolism has slowed over the years, however, and I just can’t get away with that anymore. I have been on a mission to transform some of my favorite desserts like baklava into healthful breakfast foods. I figure that if I eat my treat at breakfast, I can burn it off the rest of the day. Hence the birth of my recipe for Baklava Granola.
Granola often gets a bad rap – many store-bought varieties contain too much saturated fat, sugar and/or high-fructose corn syrup. Instead of saturated fat from butter or hydrogenated oils, my Baklava Granola features a nutritious dose of good fats from nuts and coconut oil. Coconut oil contains approximately 50 percent lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that boasts antiviral and antimicrobial properties, not to mention a fragrant smell and tropical flavor. Substitute any kind of nut or seed butter for the almond butter, which creates a rich binding agent for the oats.
My baklava is not as sweet as the store-bought options. Instead of adding a cup of sugar like many traditional recipes, I use a smaller amount of antioxidant-rich honey or maple syrup. Baklava is traditionally sweetened with honey, but substitute part or all of it with maple syrup if you prefer.
Pistachios, cinnamon and cloves round out the baklava flavor. I usually sprinkle Baklava Granola over a mixture of Greek yogurt and berries. My children prefer it as a more traditional breakfast cereal with milk.
I find that this recipe gives me much more sustained energy for my morning runs without the sugar rush of traditional baklava.
For a video tutorial on making Baklava Granola, visit this article online at losaltosonline.com.
Blanche Shaheen is a food blogger and journalist who lives in Los Altos. She is writing a Middle Eastern cookbook that shares heirloom recipes, cooking tips and family stories. For more recipes, visit feastinthemiddleeast.com.
• 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
• 1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
• 1/2 cup pecans
• 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
• 1/4 cup almond butter
• 1/3 cup maple syrup or raw honey
• 2 tablespoons coconut oil
Preheat oven to 250 F. In large mixing bowl, stir together first six ingredients and set aside. In small saucepan, stir together almond butter, maple syrup or honey and coconut oil over low heat. Once mixture is smooth, pour over dry ingredients in mixing bowl and stir until well incorporated.
Spoon granola mixture evenly on large cookie sheet and bake 45 minutes. Remove granola from oven and stir carefully to ensure even browning. Return to oven for another 45 minutes.
Cool before serving. Store granola in a container for up to two weeks.