I have made no secret of my sweet tooth to my family and friends over the years. Baklava is such a popular dessert in Middle Eastern households, and when my mom would make some or order this pastry from the bakery she knew I could scarf down a couple of pieces with coffee at 6:00 in the morning during high school, no problem. However, with my metabolism decrease over the years I know I just can’t get away with that anymore. (Darnit!!) I have been on a mission to transform some of my favorite desserts like baklava into healthy breakfast treats. I figure if I eat my treat at breakfast I can burn it off the rest of the day! Hence my baklava granola was born.
Now I know granola has gotten a bad rap as well. Many of the varieties in stores either have too much saturated fat or sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Instead of saturated fat from butter or hydrogenated oils, this baklava granola has a healthy dose of good fats from the variety of nuts and coconut oil. Coconut oil contains about 50% lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that has antiviral and antimicrobial properties, not to mention a fragrant smell and tropical flavor. You can substitute any kind of nut or seed butter for the almond butter, which creates a rich binding agent for the oats. This baklava is also not as sweet as the store bought variety. Instead of using 1 cup of sugar seen in traditional recipes I use a smaller amount of anti-oxidant rich honey or maple syrup. Traditionally baklava is sweetened with honey, but you can substitute part or all of the honey for maple syrup if that is what you prefer. Pistachios, cinnamon, and cloves round out the baklava flavor. I usually sprinkle this granola over a mixture of Greek yogurt and berries. This is my favorite breakfast in the summer–when the weather is warm, the berries in season and yogurt make a refreshing substitute for my standard oatmeal or eggs. My children love this granola plain or with milk. And yes, I have found this granola gives me much more sustained energy for my morning runs without the sugar rush of baklava. You can store this granola for up to two weeks in an airtight container–or you might find this granola will be inhaled by your family well before then! Here is my video tutorial: