It is maple syrup-making time around these parts. We are lucky enough to live in an area where maple syrup is in abundance and seeing the process from tapping to pouring it over waffles and pancakes has become a tradition for our family.
Maple syrup is the result of boiling down the sap collected from maples, over hours and hours. The result is liquid gold that is at least 66% sugar. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup and this is one reason for its hefty price tag.
Maple syrup also has phenolic compounds, the same antioxidants found in berries, tomatoes, tea, red wine and flax seeds. But because it is a high-calorie, high-sugar food, it should be consumed in moderation. That being said, maple syrup is our main sweetener. We love the taste, the versatility and pureness of it.
Here is an easy granola recipe using maple syrup as the sweetener. I use this as a topping for Greek yogurt. It provides a satisfying crunch and sweetness, yet still manages to be healthy!
• 2 cups coconut chips (these are larger than the flakes and you can find them at your local health food store)
• 1 cup of nuts and seeds of your choice (I use whatever I have on hand, usually walnuts, sunflower seeds, cashews)
• ¼ cup maple syrup
• ¼ cup coconut oil
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1/4 cup dried fruit of choice (I usually use cranberries)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl mix the coconut chips, nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Set aside.
3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the coconut oil and maple syrup in a small saucepan until it starts to bubble and add vanilla. Remove from heat and pour over the dry ingredients and mix well. The consistency will vary some depending on the honey, coconut chips, and coconut oil you use. If there is not enough of the honey mixture to lightly coat all of the ingredients, add slightly more melted coconut oil and honey in equal parts.
4. Spread on a parchment paper lined baking dish and bake for 15-20 until starting to brown.
5. Remove and let cool, then crumble in to granola pieces.
6. Store in an air tight jar and use within two weeks.