Gingerbread Holiday Granola with Popped Amaranth

There's no other treat that symbolizes the holidays better than gingerbread. From gingerbread men cookies to houses and loaves and cakes, gingerbread creates that warm and cozy feel through its sweet spice. Put anything "gingerbread" in front of me, and I'll be one happy gal. The only thing better is pairing it with hot cocoa and sitting in front of a crackling fire. I know I can't be the only one, right?!

With all of the gingerbread goodies out there, I hadn't yet come across a gingerbread granola, and the queen of granola needs this in her morning routine! And of course, I couldn't create a recipe without making sure the ingredients were top-notch. I created this gluten-free granola with all of the traditional spices that you find in classic gingerbread recipes; ginger itself being one of them. I love ginger for its anti-inflammatory properties and also that it is a digestive aid.

I couldn't leave out molasses, organic blackstrap to be exact. Blackstrap is the healthiest form of molasses; it has a moderate glycemic load, meaning it is metabolized more slowly and does not cause as sharp of a rise in blood sugar. It contains high levels of vitamin B6, calcium, and magnesium, which all help to combat stress and anxiety. I also opted for maple syrup in place of brown sugar, which is found in most gingerbread desserts. Maple syrup is refined-sugar-free and provides sweetness that is high in antioxidants and essential minerals such as potassium and manganese.

Lastly, I really wanted this granola to have added texture and for this I chose popped amaranth because of its incredible health benefits! What is amaranth? Amaranth is a superfood whole grain that is high in protein. It has been linked to lower cholesterol, boost the immune system, strengthen bones, optimize digestion (fiber), and is even connected to hair health due to its high levels of lysine.

I hope you enjoy this granola just as much as I do, particularly throughout the holiday season!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups gluten-free rolled oats*
  • 3 Tbsp amaranth (then popped! **see note)
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ¼  tsp himalayan pink salt
  • 4 Tbsp organic blackstrap molasses*
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp organic pure maple syrup

What To Do:

  • Preheat oven to 285° F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside on countertop.
  • **How to pop amaranth: (Important to note that this is a quick process, and it requires you to pay close attention or you will easily burn the amaranth).
  • Heat a small pot over medium to high heat (closer to high).
  • Once pot is hot, add in 1 Tbsp amaranth (not all 3!), then cover with a lid and quickly wiggle the pot back and forth just above the burner. The amaranth should start to pop within just a few seconds. Open the lid after about 15 seconds, and you should see the the majority of the amaranth has turned into a white color - this means it popped correctly! (I can never get the entire amount to pop, but the majority should, so don’t worry - you can toss it all into the recipe).
  • Pour popped amaranth into big mixing bowl.
  • Place the pot back on burner and heat back up (about 15-30 seconds).
  • Repeat the popping process until all 3 Tbsp of amaranth have been popped.
  • Into the same big mixing bowl that popped amaranth is in, measure in the rest of the dry ingredients, and combine with a wooden spoon.
  • Add molasses and combine with a rubber spatula. Take your time to fully coat all of the dry ingredients. You will see the molasses build throughout the more time you take. Patience is key!
  • Add vanilla extract and maple syrup. Combine with a rubber spatula. Again, take some time to make sure the vanilla and maple syrup are evenly spread throughout the mixture.
  • Using the rubber spatula, transfer the granola mixture evenly onto your parchment lined baking sheet. 
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  • Carefully remove from oven and let cool completely before transferring to tupperware or mason jar.
  • I like to store my granola in the refrigerator so it will stay fresh for longer. You can also store it in the freezer for extra freshness!
  • I really enjoy this flavor granola on top of plain or vanilla yogurt, paired with a warm cup or coffee or hot cocoa!

*Visit my Favorites page for my favorite brands and links to purchase.