oh, granola. granola is one of those foods that makes you think of earthy crunchy healthy people who probably eat paleo and go to yoga at least 4 times a week. i mean, there’s a reason people can be referred to as “granola” people. or, wait. did i just make that up? regardless, you know the sorts of people i mean, don’t you? the folks who wouldn’t dare each a bowl of lucky charms (aka, not me).
anyway, people love granola. i’d go as far as to say that granola is really in right now. top it with berries, eat it with yogurt, eat it with milk, snack on it…no matter how you’re consuming, granola is having a moment. or rather, it has been having a moment for the past few years. i too jumped on the yogurt and granola train a year or so back, eating it regularly for breakfast at my desk. but recently, i happened to take a look at the ingredient breakdown on the back of my supposedly healthy granola, and guess what? that ish was FULL of sugar. and other ingredients i couldn’t pronounce. and that mystified me, because granola is basically just oats and nuts and maybe some oil/sweetener, right? and dried fruit if you’re feeling fancy? so what was up with ingredients i couldn’t pronounce?
NOT COOL, GRANOLA.
so recently on a weekend, when i was sitting at home being lame while others were out having fun and doing the things that so-called normal late twenty-somethings do, i made my own. after doing a bit of googling, it turned out i was right: granola is basically just oats + sweetener + nuts + a lil bit of oil + spices + dried fruit/chocolate. EASY PEASY.
i decided i wanted vanilla granola with dried cranberries and toasted almonds (i’d picked up the latter two ingredients at whole foods recently and needed to use them for something). so i tossed some oats into a bowl with the almonds, then melted down some coconut oil, and mixed it into the oats along with some vanilla extract, some maple sugar for sweetness, and some cinnamon for shits and giggles. and guess what? the results were DELISH.
let’s break it down, shall we?*
*here’s the thing about granola: so long as you coat your oats and add some sweetener, you’re pretty much guaranteed goodness. so don’t worry too much about measuring cups.
VANILLA ALMOND GRANOLA WITH DRIED CRANBERRIES
what you’ll need:
– approximately 2.5 -3 cups of oats
– pinch of salt
– 1/4 cup maple syrup
– 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
– 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (pour liberally, folks)
– 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/2 cup dried cranberries
what you’ll do:
preheat your oven to 300, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or a silicon baking mat, if you’ve got one).
melt down your coconut oil, and pour it over your oats. toss to mix. add your maple syrup, vanilla extract, and cinnamon, and toss a bit more. toss in your almonds.
go ahead and do a little taste test if you want. ain’t no raw eggs in here. add some more sweetener, vanilla, cinnamon, etc, if you’d like.
once your granola has passed the taste test, spread them out on the baking sheets you’ve prepared. don’t overload your sheets – a thin layer is what’s going to ensure your granola is cooked evenly.
bake for about 45 minutes, tossing every 15. when done, let your granola cool completely. the air will help to create that crunchiness that granola is known for.
once cool, toss with your dried cranberries – or any dried fruit, really! or even chocolate chips if you’re feeling really crazy – and store in an airtight container. granola should stay fresh for about 3 weeks at room temperature.
HAPPY EATING! i like to eat mine with fresh fruit on top and honey greek yogurt on the bottom, as evidenced here.