If I could travel back in time ten years and tell my younger self to try one new recipe, it would be this granola. Why? I used to eat SO MUCH cereal growing up. It was practically a food group for me, despite the fact that it was really a snack. A crunchy, overly sweet snack that never filled me up or left me satiated for long.
My Sorta, Kinda Cereal Addiction
But, I still ate it. At least one box of those insanely overpriced name brand cereals always sat on top of the pantry next to my fridge in my early teens, so it was my go-to breakfast, snack, or make-shift meal on the weekends.
Back then my dad did all the shopping and most of the cooking as well, so I made do with what we had, which was often refined carb heavy packaged stuff like tortilla chips, pasta mixes, and cereals.
Not long after I moved down to Texas (about four months before I started this blog) to finally reunite with my long-time boyfriend, I gave up cereal. During college, I ate an "all natural" brand that claimed it was whole grain and superior, but really they were using GMO grains, highly refined oils, and plenty of sugar. In other words, this company masqueraded their products as "healthy" when they were far from it.
I don't remember exactly how I found out, but it left me feeling jilted. Cereal was my long time friend. Growing up I had a bad habit of eating my feelings instead of expressing them. (I think that's the first time I've ever publicly admitted that.)
Can you relate? I have a feeling far too many of you can.
Homemade Granola: A Better Alternative to Cereal
Anyway, cereal was one of the foods I relied on for quick comfort, so when I gave it up, I sought out other alternatives. Mostly granola, but all the store-bought versions were either made with soybean oil and canola oil or (if the ingredients were simple & actually pronounceable) super expensive.
Homemade Granola is One of Easiest Recipes I've Ever Made
I don't know why I waited so long to attempt homemade granola. It is ridiculously easy to make and the process if fairly hands off and quick. Not to mention it yields enough to last you a week (or longer) and is oodles less expensive than the store brand versions.
And the best part? Homemade granola contains only a few simple ingredients that YOU control. You can make it as paired down or fancy as you like. Use my recipe (or another one) as a basis and make it work for you.
Don't have any nuts on hand? Sub seeds. Throw in some dried fruit at the very end once it's out of the oven. Try butter instead of coconut oil. Toss in some chocolate chips or cacao nibs to finish it off. Get creative!
I love to eat granola by the handful for a quick snack when I'm on the run or sprinkle some on top of full-fat yogurt or homemade overnight oats for a fast & nutritious breakfast.
Did I mention that it will make your home smell absolutely divine? That alone is reason enough to make a batch ASAP!
Homemade Maple Almond Granola
A healthy homemade granola recipe with coconut oil that's less sweet, but still packed with loads of flavor, crunch, and protein from homemade vanilla extract, real maple syrup, ground cinnamon, and chopped almonds.
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction's Vanilla Almond Granola
Yield: approximately 4 cups
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup raw almonds, chopped or slivered
1/4 cup organic whole flax seeds (optional)
1/4 cup coconut oil (I used THIS)
1/4 cup real maple syrup (I used THIS)
3 tablespoons of organic light brown sugar* or homemade vanilla brown sugar
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon of sea salt (I used THIS)
1 teaspoon of homemade vanilla extract
*Note: If you want to omit the brown sugar in this recipe, use 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons (or roughly 1/2 cup) of maple syrup instead.
large rimmed baking sheet
small saucepan or skillet
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Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine the oats, almonds, flax seeds or shredded coconut (if using), and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Heat the coconut oil over low heat until it becomes liquid, then stir in the maple syrup, brown sugar (if using), vanilla extract, and sea salt. Remove from the heat and pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Using your hands mix everything until the oats are thoroughly and evenly covered.
Spread the mixture evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook for about 30-40 minutes, stirring the granola every ten minutes (I used a timer), or until the oats and nuts are toasted. To be sure, each time I opened the oven to stir, I would taste the oats. If they were still chewy, I put them back in for another ten minutes. My mixture didn't start to get toasty until the last 30-40 minutes. It may be different for your oven, which is why I recommend keeping an eye on it and setting a timer.
When the granola is toasted, pull it from the oven and let it cool completely. This will take several hours. While it's cooling, it will firm up and become more crunchy.
Store in an airtight container (I put mine in two large mason jars) and use within a few weeks. For longer storage, you could freeze the granola although I haven't tried that yet.
- If you decide to experiment by adding in different ingredients, please know that anything that's already consumable from the start can just be tossed in at the end after everything is toasted. For example: dried fruit, chocolate chips, toasted nuts (that's why I used raw in this recipe), etc.
I'd like to hear from YOU!
Have you ever made homemade granola before? Do you have a favorite combo of spices, nuts, or seeds to stir into it?
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P.S. Keep Reading! More Recipes From The Rising Spoon: