At 8:53 last night I started putting together this granola, and by 9:04 it was in the oven. I love this recipe is because it’s so quick: stir, spread, bake. It makes your house smell like cinnamon and nutmeg which reminds me of cooler temps and what it’s like to not melt into a puddle of heat anger every time I walk outside. In case nobody noticed, it was almost cool outside this morning, which means fall is coming and I wont feel like murdering someone every time I leave the house because of how oppressively hot it is, and maybe I’ll stop looking up jobs and houses in colder states.
Granola is one of those foods like mayonnaise: you should make it at home yourself, but modern convenience technology has made it much quicker to buy it off the shelf. Grocery store granola has an overwhelming amount of ingredient and cost options, the price ranges from “wow that’s a lot” at best and “would you like my firstborn with that?” at worst. Store bought granola tends to have A LOT of added sugar, which you really don’t need for it to be delicious. Sugar is the sexy part of the processed food industry: it’s what you add to your food to help it sell. So while it feels like you’re eating something healthy and full of whole grains, and my isn’t this delicious! those whole grains are usually coming with a large side of sugar/syrup/honey/fructose/organic sugar massaged from virgin sugar cane fields. The awesome part about making granola yourself means you get to control the sugar content, as well as the cost. Nuts can be expensive, but they’re the only pricey ingredient on the list and you only need a few, so just buy a small amount or use what you have. This makes a large batch and now you don’t have to think about breakfast for the rest of the week.
I adapted this recipe from Deb’s The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. I dialed back the syrup a bit, because I like my granola to feel more savory with just a hint of sweetness. I also upped the cinnamon and added nutmeg, and used milled flax seed instead of wheat germ, which makes it gluten free and adds Omega 3 fatty acids (if you’re vegetarian this is a good way to get some of that in your diet). I like to eat this with plain Greek yogurt, a drizzle of honey, topped with some raisins. If your feeling particularly daring, toss in a few chopped dark chocolate pieces. It would also be yummy plain with milk or any other fruit, like bananas, strawberries or blueberries. I also think it would be delicious if you topped a stack of pancakes with this granola and garnished them with maple syrup and a dollop of cream. Just a brilliant idea.
Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook’s Big Cluster Maple Granola
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup coarsely chopped unsalted walnuts, pecans or almonds, or a mixture.
1/4 cup ground flax seed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 large egg white
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients except the egg white. Whisk the egg white until foamy, then stir into the granola. (the protein in the egg acts as a binding agent to give the granola clumps!) Bake for 20-25 minutes, then using a spatula, fold the granola to turn it over, being gentle and trying not to break any big clumps. Bake for another 25-30 minutes, until fragrant, golden brown and it has reached your desired level of toasted-ness. Let cool completely, store in an air tight container. We usually eat this within two weeks, if it lasts that long.