A couple years ago, I started making granola at home. I was fed up with buying those overpriced, “healthy” bags from the store. I wanted a recipe that was satisfying yet good for you at the same time.
So, why is this one my favorite?
It’s all natural, not too sweet, and I love the flavor combination. To make this recipe, I combine equal amounts of organic oats and puffed rice cereal. This ratio gives it a light and crispy texture. I sweeten it with pure maple syrup and add dried cherries, hazelnuts, and unsweetened coconut flakes. Now of course you can switch up the ingredients here, but the hazelnut & coconut combo is unexpectedly delicious!
I make a batch of granola at least once a week as it has become a staple in our house. When friends ask for a recipe, this is the one I recommend. Need a quick gift? Pack it up in mason jars and give it away (jingle bells…jingle bells…)
If you are interested in making your own granola, below is an in-depth list of tips that you might find useful. Although I am not an expert, it sure has helped me get on my way!
- The Oats- Old fashioned or instant oats? I’ve heard that you can use both, but for this recipe I like the texture of old fashioned oats. You can also use the gluten free kind. To save a couple of bucks, buy your oats in bulk.
- The Cereal- For a light and crispy texture, add an equal amount of puffed rice cereal to the oats. Kashi or millet puffs will work too.
- The Binder- Butter vs. oil or none at all? In my opinion, granola needs a little fat to bind everything together and to crisp up. I tend to go with oil because I always have that on hand (coconut oil is an excellent option). The choice is up to you.
- The Sweetener- Sugar vs. syrups? Some granola recipes argue that sugar is necessary in order to brighten the flavor. I prefer maple syrup over sugar for its taste and healthiness. But in the past I’ve used sugar, maple syrup, agave, and honey interchangeably. Again, it’s up to you.
- The Add Ins- Some great combinations include apricot & almond, apple & walnut, and raisin, banana, flax seed. Organic dried fruit is best as the conventional kind usually contains pesticides (especially apricots & raisins).
- The Flavorings- Here’s where you can get creative… For the spices try cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and even curry powder. You can also experiment with different extracts such as vanilla or almond.
- Granola likes space. Spread it out evenly, in one layer, on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake anywhere between 275-325 F. because…
- Granola can burn easily. Stir it about every 10 minutes or so to promote even cooking.
- Only add dried fruit and nuts towards the end of cooking. Add them sooner and they’ll burn (I speak from experience).
- When the granola is done, don’t stir it. This will allow it to stick together and clump up.
- Package your granola when it’s completely cool so that it doesn’t steam and get soft.
- Store in an airtight container or better yet, throw it in a Zip loc bag and FREEZE it. Who knew? This will prolong its shelf life and trust me, it works like a charm.
I told you the list was in-depth, right? Now go on, make some granola!
- 2 c. thick rolled or old fashioned oats oats (not instant)
- 2 c. puffed rice cereal
- ⅓ c. pure maple syrup
- 3 tbsp. vegetable oil or coconut oil (liquid)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- handful of dried cherries
- handful of hazelnuts, papery skins removed
- handful of unsweetened coconut flakes
- Preheat your oven to 300 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl combine the oats, puffed rice cereal, cinnamon, and salt.
- In another bowl combine the maple syrup, oil, and vanilla.
- Combine the 2 bowls together and mix well.
- Spread out the mixture evenly, in one layer, onto the baking sheet. Use a rubber spatula to guide you.
- Bake in the oven stirring about every 10 minutes or so to keep it from burning.
- Remove the papery skins from the hazelnuts and give them a rough chop.
- After about 30 minutes, add the cherries, hazelnuts, and unsweetened coconut flakes. If you add them earlier, they will burn.
- Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. When your granola sounds 'crispy' it's done.
- Remove from the oven and let is rest for about 15 minutes. Do not stir. While resting, the granola will have a chance to stick together and clump up.
- When completely cool, store your granola in an airtight container or in a Zip loc bag in the freezer.
- Enjoy with milk or with Greek yogurt and extra maple syrup if desired.