Anyone else a total crunchy cereal addict? Honestly, the star components of my meals are usually the toppings. The main reason I love smoothie bowls for breakfast? The granola + fruit + cashew butter on top.
Late night coconut yogurt? Only happening with sliced banana, crunchy cereal and peanut butter.
Salads? Think roasted veggies, crispy potatoes, sauteed chicken or soft boiled egg, grape tomatoes, chopped nuts, coconut chips for crunch and tahini dressing.
Roasted sweet potatoes? I mean you already know though… (just check out this recipe for proof).
I could keep going but I’m going to force myself to stop. See I love a mix of regular toppings + CRUNCH. There always has to be a crunch. If I had to choose one “processed” food to have the rest of my life, it would be cereal. There is something comforting about a late night bowl of cheerios with strawberries. Maybe it’s the whole nostalgic aspect of it. OR maybe it just tastes freakin delicious. Sometimes life is merely that simple.
That being said, I pretty much ALWAYS have homemade granola of some sort in my house. In fact, people know me by my granola. That’s just my thing. It has been for years and there’s this little part of me that envisions me selling granola at a local farmers market one day just for fun.
I even have an idea to make it slightly more unique than others (aside from being homemade, no weird ingredients, low sugar, CRUNCHY and made with love) but nothing that’s gonna land me a multi million dollar deal on shark tank. I’ll share this idea with you one day but still workin on the logistics 😉
That’s when you know you’re passionate about something. When you’re willing to dedicate some serious hard work and not expect an income. Sort of like this blog of mine! Feeding these aspects of ourselves that are not measured by dollars are so important. While I’m still working towards my career (hello dietetic internship starting this Fall! –> still on cloud 9, more details to come about this!) I am learning to balance feeding my bank account while also feeding my soul.
Which ties back to this crunchy paleo cereal + parfait breakfast idea. No one paid me to test this recipe 4 different times. Baking and cooking are forms of meditation for me and I genuinely love creating things. See life really is that simple.
Details & Recipe Tips
Nuts: You can really use any variety here but I personally liked using the fancy mixed nuts (roasted + lightly salted) from Trader Joe’s! This brought out a great flavor and TJ’s always has the best prices on their bagged nuts. You can use whatever you have on hand though! (almonds, hazelnuts, cashews)
Coconut Chips: I suggest coconut chips, not the flakes. I LOVE this brand but I am sure if you only have the flakes it should be okay…let me know if you try that! I know Trader Joe’s sells coconut chips as well.
Dates: You only need a handful of dates for this recipe to provide a natural sweetness. It’s important to soak the dates in water overnight or for a few hours to make it easier when blending with the nut butter, TRUST ME. I used seedless medjool dates. Costco sells big bags these days.
Nut Butter: Instead of adding oil I added a little crunchy almond butter to form a paste with the dates. I’m sure any nut butter would work here. A food processor or high powered blender works best here to form the date-almond butter paste. This is the most extensive part of the recipe, take a few minutes but requires scraping down the sides of the blender a few times in between blending! SIGH I know right? Guys, don’t complain…deep breaths, meditate, pour a glass of wine…just relax and blend 😉
Baking & Cooling Time: After years of making crunchy granola, I have learned the biggest secret to getting it crunchy is baking at a low temperature, then allowing plenty of time to cool. You won’t need to break apart the cereal while its in the oven, let it bake as is the entire time and make sure you let it harden in the oven before breaking apart as the recipe states 🙂
- 2 cups mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc)
- 2 Tbsp. cacao powder
- ¼ cup coconut chips (I used a handful)
- Sea salt + cinnamon to taste
- 10 large medjool dates, pitted and soaked in water overnight
- 2 Tbsp. drippy almond butter
- Optional Serving: Layer with your favorite yogurt and fruit for a "parfait"
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
- Lightly pulse nuts in a high powered blender or food processor for a few seconds. Careful not to over blend, you still want some chopped nut chunks. Transfer pulsed nuts to a large bowl and mix with sea salt, cinnamon, cacao powder and coconut chips.
- In the same blender, blend medjool dates and almond butter until a paste forms. You may need to scrape down the sides a few times in between blends.
- Once date paste forms, transfer to large bowl and mix together until all ingredients are combined. It may seem like it won't come together at first, but keep mixing!
- Spread onto parchment lined tray and flatten down has best you can. I like to use a frosting spatula to press down, but any tool should work!
- Bake for 20 minutes then turn oven off, and allow the cereal to cool in the oven with the oven door slightly open for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and break apart!
- Serve with favorite yogurt, almond milk and fruit or on it's own!