What is it about granola that makes it greater than the sum of its parts? Rolled oats + nuts + dried fruit + honey = a mouthful of magic. Really. I don’t think I’m exaggerating here. Granola is satisfaction. And, as it turns out, it’s a snap to make. I recommend you forego buying it from the grocery store, in the bulk bins or from the cereal aisle, and start making your own. I have three good reasons:
1.) Making homemade granola is easy and vastly more cost-effective. (Okay, that’s two reasons in one, right off the bat!)
2.) You control the ingredients. Don’t like raisins? Fine. Don’t use them. Prefer pistachios over almonds? Perfect. Swap ’em in.
3.) Baking granola will make your kitchen smell delicious.
Now, I’m not claiming to be a granola guru, but I have experimented with more than a couple recipes over the past few months. I was initially drawn to those containing a variety of different spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger. And, I liked the idea of using applesauce in lieu of oil for a healthiercrunchier granola. But, it turned out that the medley of spices only jumbled my taste buds, and I almost lost a tooth from the applesauce crunch.
The good news is that I think I’ve finally found that the secret to great granola, and it is arguably (or so I’ve been told) also the secret to a great life. Keep it simple. Okay, shhhhh. Remember, it’s a secret.
The runaway recipe winner is adapted from Ina Garten‘s Barefoot Contessa at Home. No spices, no applesauce, just pure granola goodness. Ina’s original recipe is for a Fruit Crunch Sundae with shredded coconut and slivered almonds. I’ve tinkered with it to suit my taste buds – omitting the coconut, adding dried cranberries and roasted flax seed, and subbing dry roasted pistachios for the almonds. Feel free to try different fruits and nuts to make your favorite flavor combination.
I love this granola with plain yogurt, sliced fruit, and a dash of cinnamon. Or, for the perfect blend of cereal shapes, I mix it with Heritage Flakes cereal, Trader Joe’s Organic High Fiber O’s and rice milk. Or I just eat it with a spoon, straight off the cookie sheet while it’s still cooling because it tastes like oatmeal cookies. Maybe even better.
Good Morning Granola
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home
Makes about 8 breakfast bowl fulls
3 cups quick-cooking (not instant) rolled oats
1 cup dry roasted pistachios (shelled)
1 cup sweetened cranberries
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
4-6 tablespoons good honey
pinch of salt
Sprinkling of roasted flax seed, to taste (I love the Golden Roasted Flax Seed from Trader Joe’s)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Toss the oats, pistachios, cranberries, oil, and honey together in a large bowl until they are completely combined. Pour onto a sheet pan and bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. (Be sure not to over bake! The cranberries burn easily.)
- Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring once. Sprinkle with roasted flax seed and stir again.
- Serve with yogurt or milk and seasonal fruit.
- Store in an air-tight container – tupperware or large ziploc bag.