Cinnamon granola

By Wendy Andresen | Jun 06, 2018

Just the good stuff here -- no salt, no oil, no fillers, but plenty of nuts and whole grains and cinnamon held together by just enough local maple syrup or agave nectar.

Cinnamon is made by cutting the stems of the Cinnamomum tree. The inner bark is then extracted and the woody parts removed from it. When it dries, it forms strips that curl into rolls, or cinnamon sticks. The sticks are ground into cinnamon powder.

The distinct smell and flavor of cinnamon come from the oily part, which is very high in a compound called cinnamaldehyde. This compound is responsible for most of cinnamon's powerful effects on health and metabolism.

In a study that compared the antioxidant activity of 26 spices, cinnamon was the clear winner. Cinnamon has been shown to significantly increase sensitivity to the hormone insulin. It also purportedly slows the uptake of glucose into the bloodstream. Cinnamon has been reported to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and to help fight infection, protect oral health and reduce allergic reactions. An internet search for the health benefits of cinnamon will yield many more possible beneficial effects.

Not all cinnamon is created equal. Cassia, Saigon and Korintje cinnamon are all in the cassia cinnamon category because they are very similar to each other, with only slight variations in color, taste and coumarin, a substance known to cause liver damage, whereas Ceylon cinnamon is the only cinnamon with very low coumarin levels. If you are planning to consume cinnamon in large amounts on a daily basis for its many health benefits, I suggest using Ceylon cinnamon.

Ingredients:

6 cups old-fashioned oats

3 cups chopped nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, pecans

1 cup mixed seeds, such as pumpkin, sunflower, sesame

1 cup maple syrup or agave nectar

1/4 cup Ceylon cinnamon

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a huge mixing bowl and stir until evenly moistened. Top two large baking sheets with parchment paper, and evenly distribute the granola on each. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, switching the position of the baking sheets when halfway done. Do not burn granola or it will be bitter. Let granola cool completely on the sheet pans before breaking it up and storing it. This obviously makes a huge batch, so you might want to cut it in half.

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