Not From a Box: Granola

I love the way my house smells when granola is baking in the oven. Cinnamon, vanilla, toasting oats—it smells nostalgic. It reminds me of the holidays when the scent of cinnamon regularly wafts through the air. I must admit it’s nice to have the smell of the holidays any time of the year.

If you’re a fan of granola, but you are still buying the boxed stuff, I encourage you to make it…at least once. I was a frequent buyer of the boxed stuff. Honestly, it doesn’t have much flavor, and it is often high in fat and sugar. Then, I discovered the specialty granolas, which are divine but can be quite pricey if you love granola as much as I do. So, making my own became a necessity.

This recipe is a melding of many recipes that I have tried over the years. I often change the types of dried fruit or nuts that I add based on what I have in my pantry or what sounds good. I like the freedom this recipe provides. I have even played with the spices, adding a pinch of nutmeg or clove for depth. One thing I do not mess with is the oil. Coconut oil is perfect for granola because it adds a hint of flavor, but it is not too heavy like a canola or vegetable oil. I believe coconut oil is better for you, too.

What is my favorite way to eat granola? I prefer a splash of almond milk and a spoon. You can also sprinkle it on fruit and yogurt or eat it dry as a snack. I give it as gifts—fill a mason jar with granola and add a tag that says “Free Refills”—and you’ll have a friend for life!

Homemade Granola

  • 8 cups Old-Fashioned oats
  • 1 ½ cups sliced almonds
  • ½ cup Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  1. Preheat oven to 300° F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, seeds, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. Place the honey and coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Using a whisk, stir to incorporate the ingredients as they melt. Do not allow the mixture to simmer or boil. Once the honey and oil are warmed through, remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla.
  4. Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture and stir to coat completely.
  5. Divide coated oats between two sheet pans and spread evenly on each pan.
  6. Bake granola for 40 minutes—stirring every 10 minutes.
  7. Allow granola to cool in the pan. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the dried cherries. Combine thoroughly and store in an airtight container. Keeps for about a month—if you can make it last that long!

This batch of granola included chopped Mission figs and pecans.

This batch of granola included chopped Mission figs and pecans.

Almond milk and a doesn't get any simpler than that.

Almond milk and a spoon…it doesn’t get any simpler than that.

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