Ingredient: cacao nibs

Nut Free Granola

One of my daughters is allergic (sensitive) to nuts. It’s not anaphylactic but she does get bad skin rashes. She loves granola as a snack, so I set out to create a nut free granola that she would enjoy.

It wasn’t so easy because not everyone in my family likes chia seeds or flax. A lot of recipes called for wheat germ which was met with a resounding “NO”!. So needless to say I just started experimenting.

I started every batch with old fashioned oats. I knew my family likes those. Then I started adding seeds. Which seeds would fit universally at any meal, and would we all like them? From there I added chocolate chips but they didn’t taste like the right fit so I switched to cacao nibs. Then I wanted to sweeten it. I din’t want to use sugar and honey was too sweet for us. I ended up with Pure Maple Syrup. It is set but has just the right bite of bitter. Finally, I wanted some chew, so I started adding dried fruits. A little salt elevated the flavor and I used olive oil to pull it all together.

The recipe is below, but here are a few notes:

You can use coconut oil instead of olive oil, if you prefer. The dried fruit is completely up to you but I used apricots, , dried blueberries, cranberries. Next time I will try cherries to.

For seeds I used sunflower, pepitas (pumpkin), sesame and hemp hearts. You can use any combination. And you can use nuts if you like.  In my second batch I used coconut flakes. It definitely a personal choice.

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I love and read all your comments and suggestions so please send them. Enjoy the granola!

Nut Free Granola
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Nut Free Granola
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl stir together the oats, seeds, and cacao nibs. Toss in oil and syrup. Add a nice sprinkle of kosher salt and turn out onto prepared baking sheet. Smooth out to a single layer and bake for 20-30 minutes. rotate half way through and stir.
  3. When seed mixture comes out of oven, pour into same bowl and let cool a few minutes. Add dried fruit and toss well. Pour back onto baking sheet and let cool completely.
  4. You can store this in mason jars or other airtight container for 2 weeks in the pantry. You can also freeze for up to 3 months. This makes a great gift!
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Cacao Nib & Fennel Encrusted Pork Tenderloin

This is absolutely scrumptious. If you don’t eat pork, beef works really well here, too.

Cacao Nib & Fennel Encrusted Pork Tenderloin
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Cacao Nib & Fennel Encrusted Pork Tenderloin
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425° F.
  2. Using a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder (depending on hoe fine you want the rub) grind the cacao nibs and fennel seeds, together. Add the brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt cinnamon and cayenne powder. Combine thoroughly. The mortar and pestle will give you a coarser rub and a more pungent flavor. A coffee grinder or food processor will give you a finer rub and a more subtle flavor.
  3. Massage the tenderloin with 1 T. of oil and then rub with the cacao mixture until well coated.
  4. In a large skillet, over a medium-high flame, heat the remaining oil. Brown the tenderloin on all sides, turning often.
  5. Transfer to a roasting pan and cook until a meat thermometer reads 145, about 15 minutes. Pork can cook very quickly so check at 10 -12 minutes. Adjust time for beef.
  6. Once at proper temperature, take out, tent with foil and rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.
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