Granola is a staple in my house, and especially necessary during the school year when people want to grab something fast and nutritious before they race out the door. Just add some fruit—fresh or dried—and yogurt or milk and you’re set. It’s much better than commercial cereal—it tastes better and you know exactly what’s in it. Personally, I love to add fresh peaches or blueberries and Greek yogurt to my granola. My husband prefers his with raisins and almond milk, while my older daughter likes dried apricots and milk—it’s all delicious.
You can think of the recipe below as a springboard to creating your own favorite granola recipe. Instead of oats, you could add wheat flakes or rye or quinoa—or a combination. Rather than the usual almonds, pecans, or walnuts, you could try peanuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, cashews, flax seeds, and/or sunflower seeds. Same goes for the oil and sweeteners. Why not try olive oil, like in this yummy recipe, coconut oil, or neutral-tasting grapeseed oil—or how about agave, honey, or molasses rather than the maple syrup I use? (True, it is hard to beat maple syrup for taste in my book.)
Another good thing about granola, in case you’re not convinced yet: it’s really hard to mess it up! Okay, you could burn it. That would definitely mess it up. Granola does require careful attention once it’s in the oven. You need to stir it about every 10 minutes over the span of 45 minutes or so. If you don’t watch it carefully, it will burn. Otherwise, it’s virtually foolproof.
Maple Walnut Granola
- 4 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1 cup dried fruit, optional
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl.
- Melt butter in small pan. Once melted, add maple syrup so it softens.
- Combine wet ingredients with dry, stirring until thoroughly combined.
- Spread out onto a large baking sheet.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring every 10 minutes.
- Cool completely in pan.
- Add dried fruit, if desired.
- Store in air-tight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.
Optional Goodies to Add
- vanilla extract
- maple extract
- coconut extract
- orange zest
- cocoa powder
- crystallized ginger
- chocolate chips
- puffed rice
- dried apples, chopped
- dried mango, chopped
- dried blueberries