Rhubarb Crumble Granola (and what is a 'natural flavour'?)
Over the last few month I have been working behind the scenes to develop my Wholeplus flavour range, it is still in the works but I hope to unleash the exciting new products and creative philosophy very soon!
A huge part of my investigation process was in aligning optimal taste and texture with highest quality ingredients. When I launched Wholeplus I initially only had three flavours in the range- chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla as these were the only real food powders I could get and I was resistant to explore 'natural flavours' because I didn't understand them. It was very limiting.
So, what are 'natural flavourings'?
Taken from the web: 'Natural flavourings are flavouring substances or flavouring preparations which are extracted from vegetable or animal materials and are not further chemically modified or changed.'
So basically, natural flavours come from natural sources — the original ingredient is found in nature and then purified and extracted and added back into the food. This is the only way it is truly possible to have foods in certain flavours, and nearly all companies use them including most of the health brands I know.
This has become sensationalised in various articles online with headlines such as 'is beaver butt used to flavour your food?' (Yes indeed the anal secretions of beavers can be used in foodstuffs and is actually pretty wide spread in the perfume industry as a musky smell- who knew!) BUT Don't worry this DOES NOT appear in my products!
My biggest takeaway from this process of investigation is to be fully aware, do you own research and ask questions of the manufacturer if you are unsure how ingredients are derived.
My investigations brought me to Foodie Flavours and after doing some thorough research to understand what natural flavours really are, a face-to-face meeting with the company, and confirmation that all of their products are indeed vegan, gluten free, sugar-free and made in the UK, I was gifted some flavours to take home for my trials.
As well as Wholeplus Toppers recipes, I decided to put the Foodie Flavours to good use and created a granola recipe in a couple of flavours combinations. Both were great, but I have a real thing for the sweet and sour tang of rhubarb which is amazing.
Of course you can use any other 'flavouring' types you like- any extracts of choice or vanilla bean, cinnamon ginger etc.
Granola is a perfect snack all on its own, but in a 'smoothie bowl' (top pic) that was almost like custard in its consistency it was a wonderful combo of smooth and crunchy. This was simple to whip up with water, frozen banana and cashews blended up. Yoghurt gives a similar creamy contrast too.
I also love how the freeze dried beetroot gives a great nutritional boost and lovely pink hue to compliment the rhubarb. Beetroot powder would also work well I imagine but I think beet juice would make the resulting granola too wet and soft.
You could add any chopped nuts or seeds you like, I used roughly half pumpkin seeds for some flecks of colour and the rest a combo of mixed chopped nuts.
Other flavours that would make great granolas...
Chocolate orange with cocoa and orange flavour (or zest)
Cinnamon ...because cinnamon with everything works ;-)
Bakewell tart- almond flavour with flakes almonds and some dried cherries (stir those in after!)
Banana Bread- I have tried this mashed with fresh banana and dried bananas chunks and it's great. These was my first granola recipe experiments that used pureed fruit.
Tropical Trip with a tropical flavour and then coconut curls and dried fruit chunks mixed through once cooked.
PB&J granola- this recipe made great chunky clusters!
What are your favourite flavour combos?
Recipe: Rhubarb Crumble Granola
(with Foodie Flavours)
1 1/2 cup oats
1 cup chopped nuts/seeds
a pinch of sea salt
3 tbs coconut oil- melted
1/4 cup mild syrup of choice (I used coconut syrup)
approx 8 drops Foodie Flavours rhubarb flavour* (they suggest 20 drops per kg of product)
1/4 cup freeze dried beetroot powder* (optional for colour)
*You could omit the beetroot and/or use an alternative flavour type of your choice. I also tried 'dulce du leche' flavour as seen below in the lighter variation.
Stir together all ingredients in a medium bowl until well coated.
Spoon onto a lined baking tray in a thin even layer and bake for approx 15-20 mins on a medium heat- roughly 160C until lightly golden and toasted. Allow to cool thoroughly before storing in an airtight container. I found the granola lost it crispness after a couple of days, but it still tasted good!