Nutty fruity granola

I don’t know why it ever took me so long to make granola at home. It’s ridiculously simple, and the best part is that you can add everything you like and leave out what you don’t. This recipe, loosely based on Alton Brown’s, is the way I like it. But stick with the proportions and choose your own addictively crunchy adventure.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup walnuts or pecans
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (or olive oil, vegetable oil, or melted butter)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt (or 3/4 teaspoon Morton kosher salt or 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt)
  • 1 cup dried fruit

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, sunflower seeds and brown sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl or large mixing cup, combine maple syrup, oil/butter, vanilla and salt. Stir to combine. (Note if you are using coconut oil, which similar to shortening is solid at room temperature, here’s a convenient way to measure: Pour the 1/4 cup maple syrup into the measuring cup first. Scoop in coconut oil, using spoon to submerge the coconut oil below the surface of the maple syrup. Add coconut oil until the combined amount measures 1/2 cup. You’ll need to heat briefly in microwave to melt coconut oil – it has a low melting point, so it doesn’t take much – before pouring over the oat/nut mixture.)
  4. Drizzle liquid over the oat/nut mixture and stir well.
  5. Pour granola mixture onto a jelly roll pan or two cookie sheets (preferably rimmed). Spread evenly.
  6. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The low cooking temperature is very forgiving, so relax – an hour and a half is still perfectly fine. Stir periodically if you think of it (Alton does every 15 minutes, but I’ve gone without stirring at all with no noticeable problem).
  7. Remove from oven and stir carefully, pressing with spoon to break up large chunks. Add dried fruit and mix until evenly distributed.
  8. Store in airtight container. Keeps well at room temperature for a couple of weeks, or longer in the refrigerator or freezer.

Notes

  • Sweetener substitutions: honey, rice syrup or agave; or all brown sugar or all maple syrup.
  • Nut/seed substitutions: hazelnuts, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), pistachios, sesame seeds, cashews – or substitute in some flaked coconut instead. Nuts and seeds will be toasted with the granola, so it’s best to start with raw ones. However, the granola will be just fine if you use toasted nuts or seeds too.
  • Dried fruit substitutions: raisins, golden raisins or currants; dried blueberries, cranberries or cherries; chopped dates or dried apricots. For recovering commercial cereal junkies, go ahead and add chocolate chips, or peanut butter chips, or cinnamon chips. Make it as decadent as you like, and it’ll still be better than the stuff in the box.
  • Fat substitutions: I love the subtle flavor and aroma of coconut oil, olive oil gives a savory depth, vegetable oils are more neutral, and butter adds its ever-delectable richness (though cut 1/4 of the salt if you use salted butter).
  • Spice if you like it: cinnamon, cardamom, ginger or nutmeg – 1-2 teaspoons total, mix in with dry ingredients.
  • Use half the sweetener (2 tablespoons each brown sugar and maple syrup) if you prefer only a hint of sweetness.
  • You can use a higher temperature and cook for less time, but check often to prevent burning and stir periodically during the cooking process for even browning. At 300 degrees F, cook time will be about 45 minutes; at 350 degrees F, about 20 minutes.
  • If you like clumpy granola, try thekitchn’s method of mixing in an egg white before baking, or preparedpantry’s method of adding 1/4 cup of oat flour to the mix, or add 3/4 cup applesauce like in this David Lebowitz recipe.
  • When making granola for kids, I find slivered almonds and sunflower seeds to be the least offensive – good crunch without a prominently nutty flavor.

Here’s a link back to the post and pictures.

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