Valerie’s Granola

How do you like your granola? Do you eat it for breakfast or dessert?

Granola is one of those staples that is fundamentally wholesome and delicious, but often becomes a high-calorie, over-sweetened fiasco. It doesn’t have to be that way.  This homemade granola is the perfect mixture of sweet and salty combined with a crisp, cookies-fresh-from-the-oven roasted texture. It’s mouth wateringly delicious, simple to make, and has none of the extra sugar or preservatives you find store-bought.

Try it with milk or Greek yogurt for a quick, light meal, or just on its own as a snack. Recently, I made a batch for a morning coffee at my daughter’s school. Students, teachers, and parents loved it. Seriously, just try it. You and your family won’t be disappointed.

It also makes a great gift.  I like to package it in a simple chinese-takeout box lined with my favorite parchment paper

or I will place a cellophane bag of granola tied with pretty ribbon in an overnight guest’s room as a personalized welcome gift.

Baker’s label by Felix Doolittle

I first posted this in 2009. I feel like it’s such a perfect example of a simple recipe that is all about finding the right ingredients, I wanted to post it again for my newer readers. Whenever I go to the store, I make sure to look for unsweetened dried fruit, and stock up so I have it on hand when I need it.  Trust me, because this recipe is so simple, it is extra important to make sure you have the best-possible components.

The key to this granola, is to make sure your dried fruit is unsweetened.  Sometimes you have to do some careful label reading to make sure that no sugar was added.  I get my unsweetened dried blueberries and cherries at Trader Joe’s. Locally, unsweetened coconut can be found at  Tri-County Produce, but you can generally get it at any health food store.  The packaged “shredded dried coconut” in the baking aisle at most supermarkets is usually so loaded with sugar it barely tastes like coconut at all.

Valerie’s Granola

Valerie’s Granola

1 cup old-fashioned oats (not instant)

½ cup unsweetened, shredded coconut (I like the kind with big flakes)

½ cup whole pecans

3 tablespoons grape seed oil

1 pinch of salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons honey

½ cup unsweetened dried blueberries

½ cup unsweetened dried cherries

½ cup flax seed (ground coarsely in a spice grinder)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

If you have a mini-measuring cup, pour your oil into the cup first, then add the honey. This will keep the honey from sticking to the cup

Toss the oatmeal, coconut, nuts, oil and honey together onto a sheet pan and bake, stirring occasionally with a metal spatula, until the mixture turns golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Cool and add flax and dried fruit, mix gently. I do this all in the pan after I take it out of the oven.

The granola keeps for a week in a sealed container, so you can make it in larger batches ahead of time.