Since last December I have been making homemade granola. My food-savvy friend Jessika gave me the idea and showed me how easy it was! I gave some away as Christmas gifts and got lots of positive feedback. With a few basic guidelines from Jessika and after consulting a few online recipes, (and baking many, many batches) I have developed this recipe. Homemade granola has become a staple of my diet and I now make it almost every week. I used to eat lots of Life cereal as a dessert/snack before bed (breast feeding really kicks up your appetite) but now I just eat this and have stopped buying the cereal. It’s delicious and I have the satisfaction of knowing exactly what the ingredients are. And those ingredients are all natural, real food, which gives me yogi-hipster-y satisfaction.
Easy Homemade Granola
1. Whisk together in bottom of large mixing bowl:
1/2 cup coconut oil (I usually heat it for a few seconds in the microwave to liquefy it before trying to mix it in)
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4-1/3 tsp salt
After whisking the above, I pre-heat our oven to 300 degrees.
Also cover a cookie sheet (one with sides, not a completely flat one) with parchment paper.
2. Add to mixing bowl:
3 cups oats
1 cup desiccated or shredded dried unsweetened coconut
Raw/unsweetened chopped nuts. I use:
1 cup walnuts, chopped (we buy whole walnuts from Costco so I measure out a cup and then chop them. If you buy the walnuts already chopped you might use slightly less than 1 cup)
1 cup pre-sliced almonds
Mix all ingredients together. I can usually get away with just using a large metal spoon and not getting my hands all sticky.
Spread mixture evenly across the cookie sheet.
Bake in pre-heated oven for about 12-15 mins or until the edges and maybe a bit of the top are starting to look slightly browned and toasty. Your kitchen may also begin to smell delicious.
Remove from oven and stir, trying to rotate the parts that were on the edge into the middle of the cookie sheet and vice versa.
Return cookie sheet to oven and Bake another 12-15 minutes or slightly longer until mixture is getting lightly brown and toasty looking and smells fantastic.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on cookie sheet. If you don’t want chunks of granola, you can stir it now.
I usually store mine in an airtight Container in the pantry and I can tell you that it keeps for over a week (but it has never taken me more than 1-2 weeks to eat/give away all of it!).
You could change up the nuts if you like. I have stuck with these because I always have walnuts on hand (they are a cornerstone of my daily oatmeal breakfast) and because pecans seemed really expensive (but I bet they would be delicious).
Also, I have used both honey and maple syrup (and a combination of the 2 when I ran out of maple syrup). I don’t know what is “healthier” or better for the planet, but I like the maple syrup better. The resulting granola is less sticky/chunky and I guess I just love the maple flavor. If you like your granola chunky, the honey works well and if you really pack down/flatten the mixture with a spoon prior to the second round in the oven, you are likely to get some good, big chucks. I have read briefly online about making granola bars. Definitely sounds doable but involves more steps. If you figure out an easy way to do it that you like, let me know.
Ooooh and I almost forgot! If you really want the “granola as a cookie replacement” experience, you can mix in chocolate chips and/or butterscotch chips either after the granola is fully cooled or after it has come out of the oven and slightly cooled (if you stir in a few chocolate chips when the granola is still warm they will melt and the results are pretty delicious). I like both but prefer the butterscotch. Actually… it was a problem that I liked the butterscotch so much. I kept eating them on their own, so I stopped buying them. Really the granola is already sweet enough for me on its own. I just pour milk over it, like a bowl of cereal, and feel like I’m having a special treat every time.
“Ok, Rebecca/Becky,” you’re thinking, “This all sounds pretty easy and everything but HOW, pray-tell, do you manage to bake or do ANYTHING with a one and a half year old around?” Well… I have a really amazing small child. While I’m bustling around the kitchen she likes to pull out pots and pans and spoons and make soup on the floor with all her animal magnets. Or she climbs up on the step stool next to me – close enough that she can see what I’m doing but not close enough to physically interfere- and she plays in the sink with a large bowl and a little water, some measuring cups and spoons. She’s a little imitator, what can I say? I’m pretty confident that we will enjoy many baking experiments together in the future.