Granola is one of my favorite things to make. Like seriously. I am excited when I talk about making it. I anxiously stare at the container wishing it to empty so I can make more.
Okay, I may not go quite that far. But I definitely do my part in eating it so that I can make more. That’s almost the same thing, right? There is something so therapeutic about jammin’ to my favorite tunes, rolling up my sleeves and dancing my way through the kitchen as I sing into my spice jar mics and mix up a giant batch of sticky, delicious granola.
There are a few things that I really love about granola:
- You get to mix it up by hand and really play with it as you go.
- The house smells amazing as it bakes.
- You can put virtually anything in it – clean out all of those almost empty nut jars in the pantry.
- It is perfectly acceptable (and even encouraged!) to taste test throughout the entire process – start, start of the middle, middle of the middle, end of the middle, right out of the oven and after it has cooled.
- Best of all, it is almost impossible to mess up a batch of granola.
It all started with my husband being in one of his yogurt phases.
(An important side note: he is allergic to peanuts. Meaning a peanut never crosses the threshold of our front door. Neither does anything that might, maybe, at one point in it’s life, have come in contact with a peanut. Having a peanut allergy really limits your store bought granola choices.)
Naturally, he couldn’t have his yogurt without granola. Which left us with 2 bags of peanut-free granola choices in the store. I stared at them and thought to myself, “I could totally make that”.
About 5 minutes later I emerged with a grocery list and the rest is history. I’ve been making granola with love ever since!
I’ve tried a few different combinations over time, but my basic recipe is adapted from Elizabeth Rider and never changes. Some may have tasted better than others, but none of them have ever come close to ending up in the trash. I think you would have to burn granola for me to not eat. And I don’t mean maybe you left it a few minutes too long and it got extra golden and crunchy. I mean on the verge of charcoal and flames burning up in my oven.
I’ve dabbled with doing strictly oats versus using a mixture of different grains. Ultimately they are both great, but I like to do equal parts rye, barely, oat and spelt flakes. I like the different taste and texture each one brings. However, if you need gluten free old fashioned oats are for you.
For some extra crunch, I tend to use sliced almonds and broken cashews with an even mix of pumpkin, sunflower and/or flax seeds. It really depends on what I have in the pantry. Whatever you choose, I’d suggest trying to stick with unsalted and raw varieties. The same goes for the dried fruit – whenever possible opt for unsweetened choices. Fruit sugars naturally concentrate throughout the drying process leaving you with a much sweeter tasting raisin than grape.
Spread your mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet. If you have more than one sheet worth, cook it in batches. It takes a few minutes longer, but the result is much better then cramming it all on one sheet. Bake it until the top starts to turn golden. Take it out of the oven and let it cool completely before putting it in an air tight container.
Top your granola, ice cream, smoothies or cut fruit with a handful of granola. Or put it in a baggy and eat it plain!
If you make Fail Proof Granola, leave a comment and let me know how it goes!
Serves 1/4 cup
- 4 cups oats
- 1 1/2 cups nuts
- 3/4 cups dried fruit
- 1/2 cup seeds
- 3-6 tablespoons honey/maple syrup/agave
- 3-4 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon*
- a few shakes each of nutmeg and cloves*
- *optional seasonings
- Preheat oven to either 300 or 325 F (see the note below)
- Put all ingredients in a large bowl and mix with your hands until everything is equally distributed. The heat from your hands will melt any solid coconut oil clumps. You want everything evenly coated in one, big sticky mess. Give it a few tastes to make sure that you have the flavors to your liking.
- Spread the mixture out in a single layer on two cookie sheets. If you keep it closer together and touching you will get better granola clumps.
- Once finished baking, allow the granola to cool completely before moving. Store in an air tight container. I keep ours in a gallon mason jar in the refrigerator.
For clumpy granola: Preheat the oven to 300 F and bake 10-15 minutes, until lightly golden. Let cool completely before transferring to an air tight container. Letting it cool all of the way before disturbing it is key to getting the best possible clumps.
For lighter, crispy granola: Preheat the oven to 325 F and bake 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until granola is golden. Let cool completely before transferring to an air tight container