The Very Best Granola

Homemade granola is leaps and bounds more tasty than any store-bought granola. It is also a much healthier granola option, since it’s made with whole grains, unrefined oil and naturally sweetened. You just can’t beat freshly baked granola packed with delicious and good-for-you ingredients. By the way, you can preserve that freshly baked flavor by storing this granola in the freezer. Just pull it out and pour.

Author: : Cookie and Kate
Yield 8 Cups


Granola Ingredients:
*Old-fashioned oats: Heart-healthy, hearty, chewy oats keep their shape during baking. Be sure to use certified gluten-free oats if you need gluten-free granola.
*Nuts and/or seeds: I used pecans and pepitas (green pumpkin seeds). Other options include walnuts, which are rich in Omega-3s, whole or slivered almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios and sunflower seeds.
*Healthy fats: Oil helps make this granola crisp and irresistible. I prefer unrefined coconut oil, which is delicious (you can barely taste the coconut, if at all) and produces the perfect texture. You can use olive oil instead, if you’d like your granola to be a little more on the savory side.
*Natural sweetener: I love using real maple syrup in my granola. Honey works great, too.
*Salt and spice: Salt is totally necessary for flavorful granola! Too little and your flavors won’t sing. I prefer using fine-grain sea salt in this one (I always cook with fine-grain sea salt), but regular salt will do, too (just use a little less). I added cinnamon to this batch for some warmth. Ground ginger (in lesser quantities) and pumpkin spice blends are other options.
*Dried fruit: I just added whole dried cherries once my granola cooled. Dried cherries aren’t too sweet and they’re rich in antioxidants. So are dried cranberries and other dried fruit. I love chopped dried apricots, especially the Blenheim variety, but you can add any dried fruit you like.
*Other (optional) mix-ins: You can add chocolate chips only after the granola has completely cooled (they’ll melt). If you’d like to add coconut, you can add it halfway through baking for perfectly toasted coconut.
This delicious healthy granola recipe is naturally sweetened with maple syrup (or honey). It’s made with oats, coconut oil and your favorite nuts and fruit. Make it your own! Recipe yields about 8 cups granola, enough for about 16 half-cup servings.

Amounts Used:
*4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (use certified gluten-free oats for gluten-free granola)
*1 ½ cup raw nuts and/or seeds (I used 1 cup pecans and ½ cup pepitas)
*1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt (if you’re using standard table salt, scale back to ¾ teaspoon)
*½ teaspoon cinnamon
*½ cup melted coconut oil or olive oil
*½ cup maple syrup or honey
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*⅔ cup dried fruit, chopped if large (I used dried cherries)

Totally optional additional mix-ins: ½ cup chocolate chips or coconut flakes*

Cooking Instructions

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts and/or seeds, salt and cinnamon. Stir to blend.
*Pour in the oil, maple syrup and/or honey and vanilla. Mix well, until every oat and nut is lightly coated. Pour the granola onto your prepared pan and use a large spoon to spread it in an even layer. Bake until golden, about 21 to 23 minutes, stirring halfway. The granola will further crisp up as it cools.
*Let the granola cool completely, undisturbed, before breaking it into pieces and stirring in the dried fruit (and totally optional chocolate chips). Store the granola in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks, or in a sealed freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.