Our friend Sarah from Nuts About Granola has launched her first-ever box-mixed granola, called Granola Basics. The concept is brilliant and a lot of fun. Start with Granola Basics, then add a sweetener such as honey, agave or maple syrup. Finish with a few tasty mix-ins such as nuts, dried fruit or chocolate and you’re done.
Of course, I wanted to test it out! In my opinion, nothing can go wrong when you mix exquisite ingredients such as Guittard chocolate, fresh coconut shavings, Hawaiian ginger syrup, candied ginger and macadamia nuts, so that’s exactly what I did. It’s not quite a trip to the Aloha State, but very satisfying nonetheless.
If you want to give this delicious one-of-kind product a try, you can participate in this week's giveaway for one box of Granola Basics. Can’t wait? Buy it online, or if you live in the Baltimore area, you can find it on Whole Foods Harbor East shelves.
Servings: 56 mini bars
1 (11.625-ounce) package "Bake-It-Yourself" Granola Basics box mix (2½ cups)
½ cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
½ cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
1¼ cups Hawaiian ginger syrup
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon candied ginger, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh coconut, freshly grated
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
To enhance the flavors, dry toast the coconut in a small pan over medium heat for about 1-2 minutes, just before the coconut starts changing color. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool completely.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the granola mix with ¾ cup ginger syrup, macadamia nuts and salt.
Spread the mixed granola onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes at 350°F. Rotate the pan and reduce the heat to 325°F. Bake for an additional 8 minutes. Let cool. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
In a small saucepan, heat the remaining ginger syrup. Once it reaches a light boil, cook for another minute. Pour over the granola. Add the coconut, vanilla and chocolate chips. Using a silicone spatula, mix welll.
Fill 56 individual mini silicone molds (see tips) with the granola mixture. Let cool to room temperature, then chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator before unmolding.
Shredded coconut adds a nice aroma to the granola bars. I used fresh coconut. First, I opened the coconut using a cleaver. Be very careful if you do. (I usually lay out some newspaper underneath a large wooden cutting board.) Then scrape the coconut flesh using a coconut grater. If you don't have any fresh, you could use unsweetened shredded coconut threads and add ½ teaspoon coconut extract.
For easy unmolding, I used a Demarle 0.34-ounce, 84 Cavities silicone mini-financier Flexipan. You could use an 8-inch square pan lined with parchment paper, then cut the granola into bars after drying, but I find it a bit messy.
I received a bottle of Hawaiian ginger syrup from our friend Laura from her last trip to Hawaii. Laura told us how delicious this amber-colored elixir was. She met with the owner of the company and was very impressed with how passionate the proprietor was about her product.
I used Guittard semi-sweet mini chocolate chips.