I have an issue with recipe titles that are wayyyyyyyyyyy too long, but I clearly couldn’t help myself here. I mean…. MAPLE. VANILLA. COCONUT. ALMONDS.
COME ON PEOPLE.
This is one of the reasons I LOVE making my own granola. You can throw in just about anything to make it taste great and it all starts with a simple base of rolled oats. I paired my granola with skyre and fresh mango, let me just say – THIS WAS NEXT LEVEL.
Oh sure, you can hop over to the supermarket and simply buy a box of ready made granola, but once you make your own, you may never turn back. Really? Really.
This granola recipe is something I’ve been wanting to share with you for a long time. In fact, I just pulled these pics from my archives, because I completely forgot about them. This happens to me a lot lately. I shoot and forget. I think it’s called OLD AGE.
Before I started making my own granola, I was really a big fan of the store bought kind. Let’s just say, boxed granola does not even compare to this. Not even for a second.
It’s seriously SO EASY to make and you’ll have enough granola to sprinkle to your hearts desire for at least two weeks, unless you’re like me and just sneak a handful here and there as a snack.
This granola recipe is also a far more healthy option, since it’s made with whole grains, unrefined oil and naturally sweetened. You just can’t top freshly baked granola packed with delicious and good for you ingredients.
Homemade granola is SO fresh, crispy, crunchy, sweet, lightly toasted and perfectly flavoured. Don’t blame me if you find yourself eating it straight out of the container, it’s that fabulous. You’ll want to it eat all day long, for breakfast, snack and dessert…which in my world is totally acceptable.
Okay, so now that you have an easy base recipe, you can play around with just about anything. Mix in different spices or nuts to make this your own signature granola. You might even want to brand and package your own. Who knows?
I’m giving you some “healthy granola” tips here just to make sure you use your “granola noggin” and get creative.
Old-fashioned rolled oats (NOT INSTANT) are super heart-healthy and great for adding into this baked granola or other recipes. You can feel free to sub in gluten-free oats as well, if there is a food intolerance in your life.
NUTS AND SEEDS
Let’s talk about the fact that I LOVE the crunch of nuts and seeds. I used almonds in this recipe, but I love adding sunflower and pumpkin seeds in as well. For that matter, any nuts are fine by me!
The addition of oil helps make this granola crisp and super delish. I like using unrefined coconut oil but you can sub in other healthy options such as avocado or extra virgin olive oil to produce “the perfect granola”.
Whether you use real maple syrup, honey or agave, they are all great healthier choices versus refined white sugar. Each one adds it’s own unique flavour boost to the granola.
If you want to ensure that your granola is super flavourful, don’t skip the salt! I love using sea salt or even pink Himalayan in my granola recipes. To warm up the granola, try adding cinnamon, ginger, or pumpkin pie spice.
I love tossing in dried fruit for some extra sweetness and texture. I used a mixture of dried cranberries and chopped apricots in this batch, but have also used currants, tart cherries, figs, dates and raisins which are all really, really, really good in granola.
SKIES THE LIMIT MIX-INS
Here’s where you can get really fancy shmancy. Add-ins such as orange or lemon zest will give your granola a fresh citrus punch. If you’re into chocolate, add in some dark chocolate chunks or chips AFTER the granola is cooled otherwise they will melt. DUH. And as in this particular recipe, I added in some unsweetened coconut flakes halfway through the baking process so they wouldn’t over toast. I also love using different flavours of extracts such as pure vanilla or almond.
Last thing, and then I promise to stop talking and let you go and make your granola.
You can 100% hang onto that freshly baked flavour by storing this granola in the freezer. I’m not kidding. Just plunk it into a zippy and when you’re ready to use it let it come to room temperature for a few minutes. Boom chakalacka!
- 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup whole, raw, unsalted almonds
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ½ cup coconut oil, melted & cooled
- ½ cup pure maple syrup, (*note - you can use honey or agave)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ cup unsweetened large coconut flakes
- ½ cup dried fruit, I used cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toss the oats, almonds and salt together in a large bowl. Add the coconut oil, honey, vanilla and almond extracts. Stir until all ingredients are coated.
- Spread the granola mixture evenly onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 21-23 minutes but set your timer to 12 minutes because halfway through the baking, you will remove the granola from the oven, and stir in the coconut flakes and dried cranberries. Continue baking until lightly golden brown.
- Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet before breaking it into pieces.
- Store the granola in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 weeks.