With This Sweet Crunchy Mixture, You’ll Never Buy Store-Bought Granola Again
What’s not to love about sweet, crunchy granola? It’s the perfect road trip snack, easy to pack for a hike and the ultimate topping for yogurt. Buying any snack pre-made is tempting because the whole concept of eating a snack is that it’s a no-fuss way to satisfy your cravings. On the other hand, making your own granola is cheaper and you’ll have more control over what goes into the mixture.
There’s no excuse when it comes to baking your own granola because it’s seriously so easy. All you need is a bowl, a spoon, a pan, measuring cups and a functioning oven. Sounds doable right? Once you master your very own granola combination, you’ll be set for all future snacking endeavors, plus the baking process will make your entire house smell like a toasted nutty and sweet paradise.
No matter what ingredients you choose, the process remains the same. Always start with a base of nuts and oats as your blank canvas and then paint away with your choice of nuts, seeds and spices. Three cups is a good amount to start with. Use whatever amount necessary for your portion size, but make sure to use the old fashioned kind of rolled oats rather than instant or steel cut. You could also use grains like barley or quinoa for a little texture variety.
Nuts, Seeds and Add-Ins
The second most important part of granola is the nuts. The most common types are pecans, walnuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios and hazelnuts. The best part about making your own is that you get to be the boss, so anything goes. As far as seeds go, try out sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, hemp seeds or chia seeds. Whatever you think will give you that perfect crunch. Use a 2:1 ratio for oats to nuts. Coconut flakes, raw cacao powder or cacao nibs and dried fruits like figs, Craisins, blueberries, mango and apricots are also some fun add-ins to your granola.
You’ll need a liquid sweeter like maple syrup or honey to coat the granola. Maple syrup is the wiser choice since it’ll spread more easily and the granola won’t clump together as much as it would with other sweeteners. Extra-virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil is necessary so that the granola gets its crunchy texture.
You could go so many ways in the spice department, depending what kind of theme you’re feeling. Apple pie spices like cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg, ginger and cardamom are always good ideas, but you could also go in a totally different direction and experiment with some sweet paprika, curry power or turmeric (about 1/2 tsp. of each spice you choose). Don’t forget to have some kosher salt (about 1 tsp.) on hand, that’s what will help tie all of the flavors together.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all of the oats, nuts, seeds, spices and any other creative dry ingredients. Pour the maple syrup (or honey) and oil of your choice over the granola mixture and stir everything together. Line a deep-edged baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out the mixture in the pan so it’s evenly distributed. Bake for 45 minutes until it gets golden brown, stirring it around halfway through. Once the granola cools down it’ll harden up and you’ll be ready to rumble. Happy snacking!