Last night Ben and I were enjoying our evening snack while watching the OG Real Housewives of the OC (my fave): Triscuits and cottage cheese for her (a better swap for the Taco Doritos and cottage cheese I used to inhale in college, me thinks,) and homemade Maple Almond Granola that I had poured into a snack-sized bowl, for him.
Dip, crunch, mmm. (Her)
Crunch, crunch, crunch…yum. Hey where’d you get this? (Him)
I made it.
You made this? Wait, how did yo- HOW DID YOU MAKE THIS?!
Um, I just made it. Like stirred stuff together then baked it.
And so on and so forth. The conversation literally continued on in this way for a solid 3 minutes. It was hysterical. Apparently the fact that you can make granola – really good granola – from scratch, and that it’s incredibly easy too (like, easier than baking cookies!) was a source of intense wonderment for my man.
Maple Almond Granola combines pantry staples like old fashioned oats, raw almonds, pecans and sesame seeds with maple syrup, honey, and coconut oil, which are tossed together and then baked. The result is a perfectly crunchy, subtle maple flavored, un-sweet, sweetened granola. Translation: It doesn’t taste like you’re crunching on sugar cubes, like the store-bought stuff.
I got really into the idea of making homemade granola after enjoying a bowl of it layered with yogurt at the East Bay Meeting House in Charleston last week. It was the perfect, light-yet-filling breakfast and I couldn’t wait to remake at home (naturally. ;) ) Besides sprinkling the granola into your morning yogurt, you could also combine it with a banana and splash of milk for breakfast, or take it straight to the face, a la Ben.
This granola recipe is highly customizable too. Don’t like pecans? Use walnuts, or another type of nut, or leave them out! Fresh out of sesame seeds? Use pepitas or sunflower seeds instead. Dig raisins? Add in a handful. Just use what ya’ got!
Start the Maple Almond Granola by combining the dry ingredients into a large bowl, including 3 cups old fashioned oats, 1/2 cup whole raw almonds, 1/2 cup chopped pecans, and 1/4 cup sesame seeds. Roughly chop another 1/2 cup raw almonds then toss ‘em in there too.
Finish with a sprinkling of 1/2 teaspoon salt and a dash or two of cinnamon, then stir everything together.
Next, in a small saucepan, melt 1/4 cup coconut oil with 6 Tablespoons real maple syrup and 2 Tablespoons honey over medium heat.
Just stir occasionally until the coconut oil liquefies, about a minute or two, then add in 1/2 teaspoon each vanilla and almond extract.
Pour the coconut oil mixture over the dry ingredients and stir to thoroughly coat, then spread the mixture onto a silpat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes at 300 degrees, stirring halfway through. Note: the granola will not be crunchy when hot, so take it out when it’s golden brown!
Let the granola cool completely before stirring in 1 cup dried fruit, if you please (I used dried chopped apricots,) then store in an airtight container at room temp for up to 2 weeks.
Maple Almond Granola
3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup whole raw almonds, divided
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of cinnamon
6 Tablespoons real maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 Tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup dried fruit, optional
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees then line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine oats, 1/2 cup almonds, pecans, sesame seeds, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Roughly chop remaining almonds then add to the bowl and mix to combine. In a small saucepan, melt coconut oil in maple syrup and honey. Once melted remove from heat and stir in vanilla and almond extracts. Pour into oat mixture then stir until well coated.
- Spread mixture onto prepared baking sheet then bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through, or until granola is golden brown (granola will not be crunchy when hot.) Cool completely then stir in dried fruit (if using,) and store in a container with a tight-fitting lid at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
Get your taste buds revved, folks, because this granola is divine. I hope you enjoy!