Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Toasted Coconut Mocha Granola

This past weekend, I spent some time in the kitchen trying to come up with ways to use the "spent grains" leftover from the beer Matt recently brewed.

Spent grains are different kinds of barley (these ones had a coffee flavor) steeped in water to make beer, sort of like tea leaves steeping to make tea. Of course this granola doesn't have to be made with spent grains - you can just use oats, or subsitute another kind of grain you like.

I don't usually eat granola since it's so high in fat, but this recipe is full of flavor without all the calories. Win!

To amp up the mocha flavor, I combined espresso beans with mini chocolate chips. Since I only wanted a quarter pound of espresso beans, I just asked the good people at my local Starbucks to sell me some. They gladly obliged!

I also toasted fresh coconuts for this, but that's honestly only because Matt was already smashing and toasting coconuts for a new beer recipe he was working on and offered to do some extra for me. If he wasn't around, I would've just used a bag of shredded coconut.

This is not your typical granola recipe, folks, but it's tasty. It's great for some post-run energy or to bring on a hike as a trail snack. I ate a handful of it with an apple yesterday as my park snack, and it gave me a great little post-workout boost.

I also ended up making a variation with dates instead of coconut, so hopefully one of these flavors will spark your fancy!

Toasted Coconut Mocha Granola

Makes 6 cups

2 cups oats
2 cups spent grains (if you don't have spent grains, just use an additional 2 cups oats)
2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. molasses
2 tsp. coconut extract
3/4 cup espresso beans
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour the coconut into a dry pan and toast it over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until it turns golden brown and fragrant. In a large bowl, combine the oats, grains, oil, honey, molasses and coconut extract; spread out over a sheet pan coated with cooking spray, and bake for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Remove oat mixture from oven and let cool. Once cool, combine oat mixture with espresso beans, toasted coconut and chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container.

Leave out coconut extract and subsitute 1 cup dried, chopped dates for the shredded coconut.

Nutrition Facts**(1/4 cup serving): 103 calories; 4.5 grams fat; 14 grams carbs; 1.5 grams fiber; 2 grams protien

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