Homemade Honey Nut Granola…better than store-bought!

Honey Nut Granola

Honey Nut Granola

I'm don't think I've ever met anyone who doesn't like granola.  What's not to like?  Its crunchy, sweet, filling, quick and easy…..It makes a great breakfast served with some Greek yogurt and fruit, with milk and a banana, and even just by the handful. If it sticks together in clumps all the better!  I even like a tiny bit sprinkled over cooked oatmeal or overnight oats (we'll have to talk about those later in case you haven't discovered them yet!) for a bit of crunch in food with an otherwise kind of bland texture. 

Store-bought granola can be delicious but most brands can have a lot of sugar as well as additives.  These two below aren't terrible, but still have a few not so great ingredients with  sugar as the second ingredient in the Nature Valley brand, and evaporated cane juice (sugar) in the Nature's Path brand. Natural flavor, corn starch, refiners syrup (What is that?), and oat syrup solids (I don't know what that is either!) are among ingredients that you would never use in your own kitchen.

As we all are trying to eat better, more companies are making "healthy" granola with many smaller companies making it in small batches, with great packaging.  Despite a good ingredient list, even this Love Grown version has evaporated cane juice as the second ingredient.  I also think they are pretty expensive running around $5 for a 12 ounce bag.  

It is really easy to make your own granola, where you can decide what the ingredients are. Its all finished in less than an hour but your house will smell delicious for the whole afternoon. Don't skip the step of toasting the oats and nuts first.  It makes the difference in a nice crunchy granola and one that is soggy and sticks to your teeth.  If you like it in big chunks be sure to let it cool before breaking it up.  It's hard to resist right out of the oven but if you only eat from the corner you can still get big chunks!  

granola close up on plate.jpg

The recipe is really versatile.  You can change the sweetener from honey to agave or maple syrup.  You can use whatever nuts you like.  Use gluten-free oats if you need to.  If you like dried fruit in your granola, add it either after baking and cooling, or to your bowl directly.  Cooking it in the oven just dries it out and makes for little hard pieces of fruit.  I like to add  chia seeds, as in this recipe they don't get that gelatinous consistency that is not so nice. You can add sesame seeds or sunflower seeds, or even unsweetened coconut.  You can really make this your own!  Try it, I think you'll love it.  Let me know how you like it!  Happy baking! 

Granola and Yogurt….Yum!

Granola and Yogurt….Yum!

Honey Nut Granola

by Catherine Craig

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Keywords: breakfast snack gluten-free vegan vegetarian nuts

Ingredients (about a quart)

  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1/2 almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted if its solid at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup honey

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the oats, pumpkin seeds, pecans, almonds and chia seeds in a large bowl. Pour onto an ungreased baking sheet (with sides) and pat into a smooth, single layer. Bake for 10 minutes.

While the oats are toasting, mix all the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl.

Remove oat mixture from oven. REDUCE the oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Carefully pour the oat mixture back into the large bowl. Pout the liquid ingredients over them, and mix well with a rubber spatula. Grease the baking sheet. Pour the granola mixture onto the pan and spread into an even layer on the pan. Return to the oven and cook WITHOUT stirring for about 25 minutes until it is golden brown and smells delicious. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 30 minutes. Once cool, loosen from the pan, breaking into large chunks. Some will also fall part. Serve on yogurt, with milk, or just by the handful!

Note: This recipe is very versatile. You can substitute any nuts and seeds you like or use agave or maple syrup instead of the honey. If you like dried fruit like raisins or cranberries, add them after it cools as cooking them just dries them out and makes them hard. You can also add about 1/2 unsweetened coconut to the oats/nuts/seeds in step one.

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