It’s funny: cereal is one of those things that most people never think to try making at home. We’re so used to going to the grocery store and scanning the aisle of brightly-colored cardboard boxes until we find our favorite – whether that’s Fruit Loops, all-natural Cocoa Crisps, or even plain old Cheerios. Personally, I love a good bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats or Life (cinnamon flavored, of course!). But sometimes, it can be fun to try experimenting with homemade granola, especially once you realize how easy it is to make!
Oats are the foundation of most granola recipes – y’all already know how much I love a good bowl of oatmeal! Granola is fun because it takes this grain up a notch, with spices, lots of fun mix-ins, and usually a little sweetener, too. Granola is an especially delicious breakfast during the summer months, when hot cereal isn’t so appealing. The basic formula is pretty easy: mix up a few cups of oats with some sort of oil (I prefer coconut or olive oil), some honey or maple syrup, and whatever extras you want. Chopped nuts or dried fruit, shredded dried coconut, and cinnamon or nutmeg are all good options. In fact, once you have this technique down, the flavor combinations are pretty much endless! This particular granola combines two of my favorite flavors: coconut and maple. I added walnuts and tart dried cherries for good measure. This dish is everything you want in a breakfast cereal: crunchy, crispy, sweet, and a bit salty. Try it with cold almond milk for a delicious breakfast or dessert, sprinkled over a bowl of oatmeal for some added crunch, or even a handful straight from the jar for a quick snack. The biggest challenge is to avoid eating the entire batch in one sitting – I’m warning you, this granola is pretty addicting!
Maple Coconut Granola
Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
Makes 12 servings (6 cups granola)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon course salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 egg white
- 1 cup dried tart cherries, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 300°. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, stir together maple syrup, coconut oil, salt, and cinnamon.
- Add oats, walnuts, and coconut and toss to coat.
- In a small bowl, whip egg white until frothy. Add to granola mixture and stir to distribute.
- Spread mixture onto a baking sheet, but don’t disperse too much – we want big clumps!
- Bake until golden brown and well toasted, about 50-60 minutes. Halfway through baking, flip large sections of the granola with a spatula, breaking it up as little as possible.
- Let cool, then break up any pieces that are unmanageably large. Mix in dried fruit.
- The egg white in this recipe helps the granola to form large, crunchy clumps – just how I like it! It can certainly be omitted, but the resulting cereal will have a texture more similar to loose oats.