t is simple and homey, but nothing can quite beat the addictive salty-sweet warmth of fresh granola. The problem with store – bought granola is that it always seems to skimp on one ingredient or another, the one that happens to be your favorite, of course. When you make it yourself, you can adjust the proportions to your liking. Add more dried fruit for sweetness and texture, nuts for richness, even a little vanilla or apple cider for flavor. A good basic recipe might include any or all of the following: toasted coconut, figs, dried cranberries, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and rolled oats.
What makes this granola recipe so special? Aside from the addictive, chewy-crunchy texture of almonds and dried cranberries, I go easy on the sugar. In fact, you won’t find refined sugar in the ingredients list at all. There is sugar in the dried cranberries, however – swap in raisins to make this granola 100% free of added sugars. Thanks to a modest amount of honey, these toasty, crispy oats still taste sweet and satisfying. But they do not feel like a rich dessert, the way granola sometimes can.
To Cluster or Not to Cluster?
That is up to you. Different techniques result in different textures. Mixtures that have more sweetener, for example, will generally stick together better than drier ones, forming a “clumpier” granola. For clustery goodness: lightly press down on the raw mixture when piling it onto your baking sheet, and don’t stir it right after it comes out of the oven. You can also try stirring in a lightly-beaten egg white before baking for a more “cookie-like” consistency. For a flakier version, cut back on your liquid sweetener and give everything a stir as it cools to break up any clumps.
Make Smart Swaps
One of the best things about granola is how adaptable it is to substitutions. Want to use dried cherries instead of cranberries? Done. Pepitas instead of sunflower seeds? Great. But if you find a recipe you’d like to adapt, keep your ratio of wet-to-dry ingredients roughly the same as the original recipe to ensure the most reliable results, Perry says. Feel free to mix and match the components that make up your dry-ingredient mix to your heart’s content. If you want to sub in a different wet ingredient, like olive oil for butter, again Perry says to keep your wet mix’s fat-to-sugar ratio consistent. Keep in mind that some sweeteners (like agave) will taste sweeter than others, so you may need to dial back the amount you decide to swap in.
With Spices and Flavorings, Start Small
If you are using cinnamon, start with half a teaspoon per sheet tray, or about every six cups; for more intense spices like allspice or cardamom, start with a quarter of a teaspoon and adjust from there. You can “go for it” with vanilla, but keep in mind that other extracts or scented waters like rose water or orange-flower water can be very intense, so start with just an eighth of a teaspoon of these. Add these to your granola before it goes into the oven so the flavors can infuse the whole mixture as it bakes. And whether you are doing a sweet or savory granola, do not forget the salt – it prevents your baked goods from tasting one – dimensional or too sweet.
Know When to Add Your Mix-Ins
In general, nuts and seeds can go straight into your raw oat mixture so they can get toasty and fragrant while they bake. For mix-ins like dried fruit or edible flowers, wait until your finished mixture comes out of the oven to toss in.
A bag of plain old-fashioned rolled oats never let a batch of granola down, avoid using quick-cooking oats here, as they won’t retain their texture as they cook. But making your own granola is a great excuse to explore your grocery store’s bulk bin aisle for some alternative grains to add to your mix. The same way you’d change up your nuts and seeds, you can bulk up your granola’s oat base with different flaked whole grains like rye, quinoa, or spelt.
Wholesome Morning Granola
- 150 g clear honey
- 50 g maple syrup
- 4 tbs mild-flavoured oil such as sunflower or rapeseed
- 300 g rolled oats
- 100 g whole unblanched almonds
- 100 g hazelnuts roasted
- 50 g pistachios
- 2 tsp cinnamon ground
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 100 g flaxseed
- 50 g sultanas golden and brown raisins
- 85 g dried cranberries or blueberries
Yogurt Granola Parfait
- 500 g greek yogurt
- 500 g mixed berries of your choice - blackberries, strawberries, blueberries or raspberries
- Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. In a large pan, heat the honey and maple syrup and oil together until bubbling,Then tip in the dry ingerdients like oats, almonds etc. and spice mixture. Stir well until everything is well coated.
- Then tip onto 1-2 large baking sheets, spreading the mixture out. Bake for 30 to 40 min, or until golden brown. Stir after 10 minutes and again after 30 more minutes.
- Remove from the oven and, while still hot, stir in the dried fruits. Spread out again and press down with a spatula to cool – this will help it to clump together.
- Cool completely and store in an airtight container. Serve with sliced bananas or berries and milk or plain yogurt of your choice.
- Granola keep in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
Yogurt Granola Parfait
- Spoon about one-half of crunch into 8 tall glasses and top with half of yogurt and half of fruit.
- Repeat layering with the remaining granola, yogurt, and fruit.