Coconutty Cranberry-Apple Granola -- Grain Free
2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes (large flakes)
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup walnuts, broken into pieces
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup diced dried apples, unsweetened
1/2 cup freeze dried cranberries, unsweetened, optional
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (or 1 small container from a 6-pack)
1/4 cup PLUS 2 tablespoons Swerve confectioners style sweetener (or other granular sweetener)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground Ceylon cinnamon (or regular cinnamon)
Dash Celtic sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon natural maple flavor, optional
1 to 2 tablespoons additional Swerve or other granular type sweetener, optional
In a large bowl, combine coconut flakes, almonds, pepitas, sunflower seeds, walnuts, chia seeds, diced apples and cranberries. In a small sauce pan or skillet, melt butter and coconut oil over low-medium heat; stir in applesauce, sweetener, cinnamon and salt. Bring mixture to a boil; remove from heat and stir in vanilla and maple flavor. Pour mixture over coconut and nut mixture and mix thoroughly until everything is evenly coated.
Line a 9 x 13" baking pan with foil or parchment paper and lightly spray with cooking spray (or use non-stick foil). Spread moistened granola mixture in pan and press down firmly with a rubber spatula.
Bake at 325 degrees F for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 300 degrees F and bake an additional 15 minutes until light golden brown. Cool about 10 minutes; carefully slide "block of granola" to a parchment or foil lined cookie sheet. Using a spatula or large spoon, break into pieces (leaving some larger chunks) and spread out on cookie sheet; return to 300 degree F oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes until golden brown (to complete drying out and crisping). If desired sprinkle hot granola with additional sweetener. Cool completely and store covered in an airtight container. Yields 6 to 7 cups granola.
Note: Granular sweetener can be powdered in a small "Magic Bullet-type" blender or other small blender for a few seconds to make a confectioners style sweetener. If a softer cranberry is desired, briefly soak/reconstitute cranberries in a small amount of water for 3-5 minutes and drain. If a sweeter granola is desired, increase amount of sweetener to liquid mixture before combining with dry mixture.