I went back to my “records” and checked to make sure I was not going to be providing false information when I tell you it has been more than a year since I have bought a box of cereal. It was in April of 2009 that Rob’s sister, Meghan, emailed me her recipe for granola and the following May is when I started making it regularly for our family. I am still not sure where this change falls on the money-saving scale (because quality ingredients for granola can be pricey), but the main reason for switching to homemade granola was to provide a healthier breakfast option for our family. I never did by the sweet cereals for our girls (I let that be one of the treats they have at Grandma’s), but even the boxed “healthy” options I would buy were still highly processed and full of ingredients that I wanted to remove from our pantry.
For more than a year, we followed one recipe for granola that we all enjoyed. Then this past August, I had some of Meghan’s latest granola recipe when we stayed with them in Colorado. And I just had to change up a few things in ours to make it even more yummy, like her updated one. I thought the flavor couldn’t possibly get any better. Well I was mistaken.
My great friend Brie brought me over a batch of hers in November and it was just awesome!! But I couldn’t figure out why, I wondered what was that mysterious taste that made me take such delight in it. I got her recipe and went down the list of ingredients she used. We both had something to make it sweet, we both used similar spices, the nuts were basically the same… However, she had one additional ingredient in hers that I did not use in mine, and I was certain it made all the difference. Salt!!!!
Was I ever surprised at myself for not considering that magical ingredient before! You see, salt is one of my most favorite things in this world! When folks come to eat at our house, Rob will tell let them know that if they would like any salt, it can be found on Jo’s bedside table (it’s really not there, but it might as well be…) I put it on just about everything and “sparingly” is not the word that would ever describe the manner in which I shake shake shake. But I had never thought that this flavor enhancer would do such wonders in granola – shame on me! Because it does. It does. It does.
So here is the latest granola recipe that I use:
1 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 cup honey (raw is best if available)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cardamom
1 TBLS vanilla (read label, lots of them have some form of sweetener)
2 tsp almond extract
1 TBLS kosher salt (don’t freak out, this makes more than 12 cups of granola!)
8 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup flax seeds
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup each: peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios, etc (preferably use raw and use as many varieties as you have on hand!! You also don’t need to alter the recipe for the more, or less, types of nuts you use)
2 TBLS cinnamon
I first heat up the top ingredients in a sauce pan over low heat and stir until well mixed. In a large roasting pan (I prefer this over cookie sheets because the high sides come in handy when stirring), I add the remaining dry ingredients (except for cinnamon) and pour the coconut oil mixture on top. Stir until everything is well coated.
Bake at 250 (the lower temp keeps all the nuts and seeds nutritionally optimal) for 35 minutes. Take out and stir and bake again for another 35 minutes.
Pull out to cool and sprinkle the cinnamon on. You’ll want to stir this regularly over the next couple of hours or the granola will all clump together.
*update – we now own an excalibur dehydrator, so instead of baking our granola I use our dehydrator and turn it on the highest setting for 24 hours.