Monday, September 21, 2009

Crunchy Buckwheat Granola

I can’t find everything here in Swaziland that I used to eat in the U.S. I miss Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, but not as terribly since I discovered a tiny little health food store in the main plaza of Mbabane. When I first walked in, I had to do a double take. There were shelves with gluten-free pasta, a bag of gluten-free muesli, potato and rice flour, corn cakes, dried fruits, seeds, and nuts, and even a few different gluten-free protein bars. The one thing I have really been craving here is a good granola, but I have not managed to find any gluten-free oats anywhere (which was not surprising to me). But the last time I was there, I noticed a small package tucked onto one of the shelves. I thought I had seen everything the store had, but here was a little bag of buckwheat flakes that had been hiding behind the rye flakes and rolled oats. I took them home and tried first to create an oatmeal-like porridge, but I wasn’t terribly impressed with the lumpy mush that I came up with. My second attempt to use them was in place of regular oats in baked granola, and here, I hit the jackpot. When the granola is baked, the buckwheat flakes are a perfect substitute for rolled oats. They clump together beautifully, and together with flaked coconut, dried cranberries, and an assortment of seeds, make a hearty, chunky granola that is just as good as any I’ve made with oats. For those who are sensitive to oats, this would make a great alternative. And although I've approximated the amount of each ingredient I added, this recipe is very loose and you can add more or less of each ingredient according to your own taste.

Crunchy Buckwheat Granola

1 ½ cups buckwheat flakes (*these are difficult to find in the US; you can substitute quinoa flakes or gf rolled oats)
½ cup flaked coconut
½ cup dried cranberries (or dried fruit of your choice)
½ cup seeds and nuts of your choice (I used sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, linseeds, and sesame seeds) dash of salt
½ cup creamy peanut butter or sunflower butter
½ cup honey
1 – 2 tsp vanilla to taste
¼ - ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 300 F. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir to mix. Place a saucepan over low-medium heat and add the peanut butter, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon. Cook until the mixture is completely melted, and then pour immediately over the dry mixture. Stir to ensure that it is spread evenly throughout the mix, then pour into a baking dish that has been sprayed with baking spray or rubbed with oil. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like your granola. Stir once or twice during the baking time. When the granola has finished baking, remove the pan from the oven and place the granola onto a plate to cool. When cooled, break apart the clumps and enjoy! Store in an airtight container (I store mine in the fridge).


Allie said...

Oh My Goodness, that sounds right up my alley. After moving from San Diego to Boise, I am also a Trader Joe's outcast! Not a single one in the state! I am in love with buckwheat flakes in place of old fashioned oats as morning "buckmeal."

Claire Berman said...

Hi Allie,

Thank you for your comment! I totally understand - and I think I'll have to give "buckmeal" a try. Maybe I didn't make it properly the first time I tried it. How do you make it?

Thanks for reading!!

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