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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Coconut-Coconut Granola & Banana Crunch Coconut Muffins

So, you've had granola.  And not another granola recipe, you say.  Almost opting yourself right out of reading this one.  Don't.. keep reading.  

In the past few years, I admit losing my love of granola. Super crunchy cereal, pantry basic.  No big deal.   And then, you try some that transforms this breakfast snack into another world.  This recipe did that for me and I will never look at granola the same.  It is found after many years of making dozens of versions.  Finally landed on this perfection.. and it's something I get excited about.   It is great by the handful.. or use it with cold milk alone.. deelish.  In yogurt, so good. In baked muffins.. ah-mazing!  So, try it.  It will change your ever loving granola life.  And, it's makes a great gift. Often I add chopped dark chocolate chunks.. makes an even more amazing treat! 

Banana Crunch Coconut Muffins

And soon after falling in love, make these muffins.  Barefoot Contessa's recipe for Banana crunch breakfast muffins which is probably my most requested muffins.. calls for 1 cup of granola and 1 cup of coconut. Using this coconut granola transcends the recipe.  Over the top yum.   I have my version of her muffin recipe posted below. Always trying to opt for a healthier, yet still delicious result.. this recipe was an easy one to bring into the light. Even with 1 cup less sugar (there's added applesauce) and switching to whole wheat flour.. these babies are still rich and decadent as far as muffins go.  Hey, there is still 2 sticks of butter in there.  However, it does make 18 good size muffins.. or 24 regular.  The original recipe would be closer to a dessert than a breakfast item.  Again, another great gift.

Back to the granola for a minute..  I am using coconut oil here, which not too long ago was wrongly looked down upon.  We were scared into believing that it was a horrible fat.  Well, just like olive oil, avocados and nuts.. we are learning that these fats are actually good for us and necessary for good health.  
The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancers, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing, etc. 
In other words, its AH-MAZING and we should try and use it wherever we can.   
When buying coconut oil.. virgin is best where not heated to a high heat, but warmed and used.  Virgin coconut oil has a distinct light coconut flavor.    It is an investment, but worth it.   However, I have noticed it newly upon the Trader Joe's shelves and their prices are always very reasonable.  Just remember.. IF heating, don't use virgin.  Try coconut oil when making popcorn.. so good!

Jojo's Coconut Coconut Granola
     6 C. rolled organic oats

     1 2/3 C. unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 C. raw clover honey
     1/3 C. virgin coconut oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. kosher salt
1. Heat oven to 300º F.
2. In a large bowl, combine oats and shredded coconut.
3. In a small saucepan, cook honey, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt over medium heat until the mixture just begins to simmer.
4. Pour honey/oil mixture over oats and coconut flakes, and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.
5. Spread out granola on a baking sheet. Place in oven, bake for 10 minutes, then stir granola. Repeat until granola is well-toasted..  approximately 40 minutes total cooking time.
6. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally.  When cooled, store in airtight containers for up to 2 weeks. Can refrigerate or freeze for longer shelf life.

Banana Crunch Coconut Muffins

3 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 extra-large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 bananas)
1 cup medium-diced ripe bananas (1 banana)
1 cup small-diced walnuts
1 cup Jojo's coconut coconut granola
1 cup shredded coconut
Topping:  Dried banana chips, roughly chopped and shredded coconut, optional

1.  Preheat the oven to 350º    Line 18 large muffin cups with paper liners. 

2.  In bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3.  Add the melted butter and blend.
4. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, applesauce, vanilla and mashed bananas, and then add them to the flour-and-butter mixture. Scrape the bowl and blend well. Don't over mix.
5.  Fold the diced bananas, walnuts, granola, and coconut into the batter.
6.  Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each 1 to the top. I use a large ice-cream scoop.
7.  Top each muffin with chopped banana chips and coconut, if desired.
8.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. 9.  Cool slightly, remove from the pan, and serve.

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