I honestly had no idea for years that people made homemade granola. Hello! I thought it was something that was just always store bought. I attended a healthy eating class about 14 years ago and the instructor brought some granola that she had made. As with everything it was of course life changing. It always is. I mean the flavor was so good and I couldn’t stop eating it and I knew from there on out I had to start making it at home.
For years I used that same recipe but then I began to want to add different ingredients. Each time I tried to switch it up, it didn’t work out quite right. I have tried dozens of homemade granola recipes over the years, and it wasn’t until recently that I decided to come up with my own formula. It took me a few tries but I think I finally came up with one that’s chewy, has clusters, has the perfect flavor and one that’s completely interchangeable without compromising the flavor.
The main outcome I wanted in my granola was chunky clusters, not the entire batch, but a good amount of clusters. And not crunchy, break your teeth clusters but chewy, moist clusters. The key to making clusters in your granola is using an egg white. It sounds weird but it’s necessary to help bind the granola. This recipe is also adaptable to your personal preference. Feel free to substitute and use the nuts and dried fruit that you’d like. I always use the same nuts because they are my favorite. I will however use whole almonds at times as opposed to slivered almonds at times.
To begin, I will of course always and forever say to make sure you use good quality ingredients, it will make such a difference in the outcome of your granola. Begin by preheating your oven to 400º. In a large bowl combine 3 ½ cups old fashioned oats, ½ cup slivered almonds, ½ cup chopped pecans and ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes. Set aside. In another bowl combine the dried fruit to total 1 cup. I always try to find fruit with little to no sugar added. I used chopped apricots, wild blueberries and cranberries. I change up the dried fruit seasonally. I love to use dried apples in the fall when my favorite local orchard sells them dried. It lends a great tang to the granola. You can use raisins, golden raisins, or whatever dried fruit you’d like.
In a saucepan combine ¼ cup dark brown sugar, 2 T coconut oil, ¼ cup honey, 3 T pure maple syrup, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp ground ginger, ¼ of a tsp freshly grated nutmeg and a pinch of kosher salt. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and add 2 tsp pure vanilla extract.
Add egg whites from 1 large egg to the oat mixture, stir to combine. Pour the syrup mixture over the oat mixture and stir to coat. Spread in a jelly roll sized pan ( 15x10x1 ). I spray the pan with a non-stick spray so the granola mixture won’t stick. I also use a smaller sized pan so that the mixture doesn’t fully flatten out.
Bake at 400º for about 12-15 minutes. Check at the 12 minute mark, depending on your oven temperature it can tend to burn in those last minutes. You want the color to be nice and golden. Add the dried fruit, taking care not to stir it too much. I gently fold the fruit in and leave it in a good mound so that when it cools, the clusters will form. Let it cool for at least 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container. It will keep for at least 2 weeks.
I love to use granola for so many things. I’m loving it lately in my acai bowls (recipe coming soon), sprinkled on yogurt, or a yogurt parfait. Or, I’ll even eat it as cereal with coconut or almond milk. Enjoy!!