Coconut Pepita Crunch
The Case for Crunch
The core identity of this delicious Coconut Pepita Crunch is inspired by my grandfather. For him, "crunchy" is a defining feature of food. Anything with a crisp bite gets his seal of approval while creamier dishes are merely tolerated. With him, even non-classic crunchy foods like cornbread can receive a rousing round of compliments if the edges offer a crisp bite.
Abnormally Sprinkle Obsessed
Despite the fact that my love of the crisp pales in comparison to that of my grandfather's, I do still love all that crunches. This exhibits itself in many ways including a decade of renown sprinkle use. Sprinkles offer not only a cheery touch to my boring flavor preferences in ice cream (I'm talking vanilla and Neapolitan on a particularly adventurous day), but they offer crunch. I also found excuses to use them on smoothies, chewy cookies, and even oatmeal on occasion. The fact that I am a grown ass woman in no way deterred my purchasing of glitter pearls, jimmies and sugar beads as an important part of my daily diet.
Plastic Free July
Then, plastic free July rolled around last year and I was forced to face the reality of just how many plastic sprinkles jars I went through. Yes, this may not be my most environmentally destructive habit, but it did become an obvious pattern as I became more attune to my consumption. In the spectrum of where my single-use plastics were sprouting from, sprinkles seemed to be one of the easier habits to kick.
Plastic-Free Coconut Pepita Crunch
That led me to my determined adventure of finding crunchy alternatives. Enter this recipe for Coconut Pepita Crunch. It is a delightfully simple way to create a lightly sweetened topping perfect for ice cream, smoothie bowls, or a handful of quick energy on the go. It has just 5 ingredients: coconut, pepitas, chia seed, maple syrup and salt. Not only are they much healthier than the mysterious list of chemicals that comprise the average sprinkle, but I can find them all in bulk, so I avoid single-use plastics.
If you are celebrating #PlasticFreeJuly this year, this is an easy and delicious recipe that can be ready in less than half and hour! Certainly a win if you want a little crunch atop a summer sundae or smoothie.
Coconut Pepita Crunch Recipe
1 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1.5 cups shredded coconut, unsweetened
1/4 tsp of salt (add a touch more if you like things salty)
1/4 chia seeds
1/4 cup maple syrup
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silpat (you can compost non-waxed parchment paper!)
2) Combine pepitas, shredded coconut, salt and chia seed in a medium bowl. Stir in maple syrup and blend til evenly coated.
3) Transfer to the baking tray and spread out the mixture evenly.
4) Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and stir the mixture. Turn off the oven and return the tray to the oven, letting it sit with the door closed for 10 more minutes (or until golden brown). Check it a couple times during this period as ovens cool at different rates.
5) Remove the tray from the oven, stir the mixture and let sit until fully cooled. The Coconut Pepita Crunch will crisp up as it cools.
6) Transfer to an air-tight container to store at room temperature (or the freezer if you will be storing it for more than 5 days).