I’ve tried a lot of granola recipes over the years, and rejected my fair share as well. Granola is supposed to be healthy and good for you. So recipes that call for tons of sugar and fat just don’t cut it, in my book. I once saw a recipe that called for a cup of oil. A CUP. Well of course it tasted good. It was practically deep-fried! I’ve also tried recipes made with just fruit juice to cut down on the sweetness, and those were not sweet enough. It’s hard to find just the right balance.
Most recently, my “go to” recipe for granola is based on the one by Alton Brown, with the sweetness cut down by about one-third. I love this recipe, not only because it is easy (no heating up of the syrup mixture before mixing it with the oats) but because I can play with the ingredients and still come out with something fabulous.
Easy Adaptable Granola
6 Servings (or a lot more if you just put a couple of tablespoons on your yogurt in the morning)
- 3 cups rolled oats (I like the thick cut – best not to use instant unless that’s all you have.)
- 2 cups nuts and seeds of choice (I generally do one cup silvered almonds, and one cup mixed other nuts and seeds. The batch pictured has sunflower, pumpkin, flax and sesame. Peanuts work well too. The smaller the seed, the more likely it will just end up at the bottom of the container and not stick well to the oats – amaranth…not so much.)
- 3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (if you really dislike coconut, you could probably leave this out. I use unsweetened because I’m trying to cut down on the sugar. Sweetened would be OK too.)
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar (original recipe called for 1/8 cup additional. Light brown would be OK too. I prefer the stronger taste of molasses in the dark brown.)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (original recipe called for 1/8 cup additional. I’ve also successfully substituted agave nectar, sorghum – bought on vacation, and honey. I’m sure brown rice syrup would also work – any liquid sweetener, really. Did you know you can buy maple syrup in bulk at most natural food stores, usually for a lot less than prebottled syrup? And the Grade B syrup you get in bulk has a more pronounced maple flavor, which I prefer.)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil (canola – organic if you can afford it, is neutral in flavor and heart healthy. Have a nut oil you bought for a salad dressing recipe and are trying to use up? Use it here. Walnut would be lovely.)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (I have no health issues around salt. Cut back if you do, or if any of your nuts/seeds are already salted.)
- Up to 1 tsp spices of your choice (cinnamon, nutmeg etc.)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar.
In a separate small bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt. Add maple mixture to oat mixture, mix well and pour onto a sheet pan. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, stirring every 30 minutes to ensure even toasting.
Note that the original recipe calls for two sheet pans and stirring every 15 minutes for slightly less time. I find this to be too much fuss. One pan and a little longer baking works just fine.
Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add 1 cup dried fruit if desired. Can easily be doubled. Store in an air tight container once cool.
Miles Away Farm Blog © 2011, where we’re miles away from sticky sweet granola, but still trying to get the flax seeds out of our teeth.