Extra Crisp (Top Secret!) Granola ? gluten free, keto & paleo

Paleo & Keto Granola

Extra (Extra!) Crisp!

I wanna tell you guys a little story! Once upon a time, gnom-gnom was (for a super brief period!) a physical little bakery in Mexico City. Clearly it didn’t work out (oops!), and the lack of demand kept the project from going further. 

But this ‘top secret’ granola was one of the best sellers along with our candied pecans… which incidentally used the same topping. Coincidence? I think not!

And the credit goes to? Our sesame ‘sugar’ (now no longer) top secret coating!

Flavor aside, this keto granola is simply suuuper crunchy, even after soaking in almond milk for 10 minutes (you know, while I took the pictures!!)

So feel free to pair it with ice-cold almond milk and raspberries, allowing the granola to soak in the milk for a few minutes will flavor it as well (good stuff!). But it also goes great with Greek-style yogurt and strawberries, if that’s your thing.

The Secret Ingredient: Sesame Sugar (i.e. Halva)

I borrowed the sesame sugar coating from our favorite candied pecan recipe ever. The lightly toasted sesame seeds add such an incredible depth of flavor and aroma!

Once mixed in with the sugar and the cinnamon, an incredible coffee scent will arise. And expect such coffee earthiness to be present in the actual keto granola too.

And if you know the Middle-Eastern sweet treat halva, a mix of sesame and sugar, you won’t think twice about whipping these guys up asap.

Freshly baked Keto granola on a baking tray

A Nutritional Powerhouse

This keto granola is a breeze to customize to your taste-buds desires. Having said that, just make sure to keep the dry to wet ratios roughly the same. And I highly suggest you leave the coating unchanged.

So here’s a run through of what goes into it, and the nutritional perks we know you’ll love. And at 3g net carbs (and 18g fat!) the macros are pretty ideal.

Almonds: are one of the preferred keto nuts, and with reason. They contain a bunch of healthy fats, fiber, protein, vitamin E and magnesium.

Pecans: are very rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (mainly oleic acid) and full of antioxidants (reduce inflammation and reverse damage) and manganese (useful for weight loss).

Sunflower seeds: are incredibly rich in a bunch of nutrients, namely vitamin E, copper and vitamin B1. But you will also find that these guys are a great source of manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, niacin and vitamin B6. Yup, ideal!

Pumpkin seeds: are little nutritional powerhouses, just like sunflower seeds. Their nutrient profile includes magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc. But they’re also very rich in antioxidants, for that extra boost.

Chia seeds: are simply awesome. These tiny Mexican guys pack a whole lot of protein and add a whole lot of crunch. Chia seeds contain large amounts of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, plenty of high quality protein, and several essential minerals and antioxidants. So if you’re on keto, and having trouble passing (you know, ?), chia seeds are bound to become your new best friends.

Flax seeds: are a great source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, but also good for fiber, vitamin B1, copper, magnesium, selenium and phosphorus. Whoop!

Sesame seeds: are jam packed with healthy fats, calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamin B-6.

Blackstrap molasses (optional): 1teaspoon (7g) adds 5g net carbs (depending on your macros, very little effect on carbs/serving). But carbs aside, blackstrap molasses is a nutritional powerhouse rich in vital vitamins and minerals, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and selenium.

Cinnamon: ranks number 1 (out of twenty-six other spices and herbs) in terms of its antioxidant capabilities. Plus, who doesn’t love cinnamon?

Pink Himalayan salt: is highly recommended on the keto diet, and with reason. It contains roughly 84 minerals and trace elements, so a real upgrade from your usual table salt. Plus, it amps the flavors a bunch in this keto granola.

Keto granola in a bowl with raspberries and milk

The Deets

Keep in mind that giving a light toast to a handful of the nuts and seeds will amp up their flavors a bunch, so I cannot recommend enough that you get it done. And yes, I know that they’re going in the oven for an hour… but they’ll be going in candied, so you want to get that toast before.

Still, doesn’t take more than 5 minutes with a pan or skillet. Just be sure to keep an eye on them, as you only want them lightly golden. Or you can do 10 minutes in the oven at 350!

The Sweetener

Like any respectable candied recipe, this one works best with a brown sugar replacement! My current favorite is Lakanto’s golden (tastes and smells sooo good!!), there’s only some light cooling aftertaste and it crisps up nicely in a few hours.

Your other option is to use allulose and xylitol (non-corn though to avoid tummy troubles!)

As mentioned earlier, I also like to add a blackstrap molasses for that extra brown sugar kick (and a tonne of umami!). But then again, its totally optional! Though must say, I’m rather fond of sticking to the more natural route with blackstrap molasses.

Keep in mind that blackstrap molasses is considered a low glycemic sugar. One teaspoon (7g) adds 5g net carbs, so just 0.4g net carbs a serving (i.e. half the sugar of a strawberry!). But carbs aside, it’s also known to be a nutritional powerhouse rich in vital vitamins and minerals; such as iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and selenium.

Fun fact: Molasses contain high amounts of chromium, which has been studied to increase glucose tolerance levels.

And if using xylitol, make sure to be careful if you have a pup around the house, as it’s highly toxic to the little guys! ?

Keto granola in a bowl with raspberries and milk
Keto granola in a glass container with a black background

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE KETO GRANOLA

  • 105 g almonds lightly toasted*
  • 95 g pecans lightly toasted*
  • 75 g sunflower seeds lightly toasted*
  • 60 g pumpkin seeds lightly toasted*
  • 110 g chia seeds
  • 56 g flax seeds
  • 60 g sesame seeds lightly toasted
  • 8-10 tablespoons golden erythitrol or xylitol (we use 8)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon blackstrap molasses optional**
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 egg whites
  • pink Himalayan salt to taste

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

  • almond milk ice cold!
  • full-fat Greek style yogurt
  • raspberries
  • strawberries

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F/120°C. Line a rimmed baking tray with parchment paper or a baking mat. 
  2. Mix almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds in a large bowl. Set aside. 
  3. Lightly toast sesame seeds over medium/low heat for 4 to 6 minutes. Watch out they do not burn or they’ll taste bitter! You know they’re ready when they’re lightly golden, and you press one between your fingertips and it turns to powder. 
  4. Add sesame seeds, sweetener, molasses (optional) and cinnamon to a food processor and pulse a couple times until powdered and mixed thoroughly. 
  5. Add sesame sugar to nut mix and combine thoroughly. Set aside
  6. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold gently into granola mix until fully combined. 
  7. Spread granola onto prepared baking tray in a single layer and sprinkle with pink Himalayan salt. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until they begin to harden, checking every 15 minutes or so. Allow to cool completely, as they’ll continue to crisp up while cooling. Depending on the sweetener you use, these might get their full crunch after an overnight rest (think xylitol!). 
  8. Break up in chunks and store in an airtight container for up to a week, in the fridge for 2, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. 

RECIPE NOTES

*Lightly toasting the nuts and seeds lightly in a pan or skillet (or roasting for 10 minutes!) brings out the best in them! So I highly suggest you get them golden and fragrant before tossing with the mix. 

**I’m very fond of adding blackstrap molasses for a real brown sugar kick (and a tonne of umami!).. It adds 0.5g of carbs per serving (it’s packed with nutrients), and a whole load of punch. But it’s totally optional, and you can just use your regular sweetener.

Please note that nutrition facts are estimated for 45g of the keto granola, which is roughly 2/3 cup. 

Click here to see the “Flavor-Pairing” trick that helped me melt away 22 pounds in just 16 days (proven for women only)

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