What could be more refreshing on a hot summer day than a steaming bowl of granola, fresh out of the oven?
Okay, so I realize granola is not exactly synonymous with summer. Even so, homemade granola fulfills many of my food goals right now, including avoiding as many processed foods as possible, generating less waste, consuming less refined sugar, eating more gluten-free items, and providing healthy, quick, and filling breakfasts for my we’re-really-not-morning-people family members.
Granola is one of those things I always thought was difficult to make; don’t ask me why, it is actually easy-breezy (maybe not as easy as plunking the box into my grocery cart, but still, quite simple). Besides, have you ever noticed that each bag (hidden in a child-size cereal box) of store-bought granola contains about 12 “recommended servings” of 1 teaspoon each? I suppose this may be because no one wants to read “calories: 4 gazillion” on the ingredients label. Anyway, we’re getting off that train. We don’t need to buy any more prepackaged granola filled with all kinds of ingredients we cannot identify. Are you with me??
As it turns out, granola is the perfect kind of food for rocking your retro apron and channeling your inner Betty Crocker. It’s easy, smells divine (definitely make this right before an open house), and lends itself to individual expression. Start with a base of oats, then add whatever nuts or seeds you most enjoy, throw in flax seeds for some extra omegas and veg-cred, and sprinkle a bit of dried fruit on for texture after baking (or mid-way through if you like that baked-raisin flavor, yum. Dried cherries are wonderful in granola, too, just sayin’).
As you well know, I think coconuts are the best thing since, well, coconuts. However, I have a dirty little secret: I don’t really enjoy the texture of shredded coconut, so I often end up swapping out shredded coconut for coconut oil or milk in recipes that I think still need some coconut love. Most granola recipes I have seen include shredded coconut in addition to oil, so I decided to use coconut oil instead, and I am oh so happy I did. Absolutely delicious!
G’s Favorite Coconut Granola (“This is the best thing you’ve ever made for me!”)
- 3 cups oats
- 1/2 cup wheat germ (omit if gluten-free)
- 1/4 cup flax seeds, ground in your honey’s coffee grinder
- 3 T. brown sugar
- 1 cup almonds and walnuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds (optional)
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 1/4 t. nutmeg
- 3/4 t. salt
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1/4 c. nectar of the gods (I mean coconut oil)
- 1/4 c. real maple syrup (no mrs. butterworth’s here friend)
- 1/2 c. dried fruit (golden raisins, cranberries, apricots, etc.)
1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
2. Mix dry ingredients (except fruit) together in a largish bowl and wet ingredients in a smaller one. Stir both separately, then pour oil mixture over oats. Work out some of your aggression by blending well with your hands.
3. Spread granola evenly on a cookie sheet (or two) and bake for 30-45 minutes, stirring once. Patience, darling–let your masterpiece get cool and crunchy before you start snacking. 🙂