I love granola. It connects perfectly with my preference for crunchy things. I fondly look back at one of my favourite childhood breakfasts and remember a bowl of Quaker Harvest Crunch with some cold milk poured over the top. Not being one for mushy foods (don’t get me started on over-ripe bananas), I especially enjoyed how the cereal retained its special crunchiness, truly living up to its name, right to the last bite. For any non-Canadians who might be reading this, the cereal is essentially crunchy nuggets of rolled wheat and oats with brown sugar, coconut, almonds and honey.
As an adult with an expanding waistline, however, one pays slightly more attention to the nutritional value and calorie count on boxed cereals. I was interested in making my own crunchy granola with a dream-list of ingredients, throwing in some heart-healthy additions to boot. After much consulting and many attempts, I am pleased to present a recipe that has grown to be much-requested.
Of course one can use any ingredients available in the pantry, and indeed every time I make granola, it’s different in subtle ways from the previous batch. So feel free to experiment with different ingredients like hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pistachios, wheat flakes, bran flakes, or anything else that catches your eye at the health food store. And while you’re mixing things up, play with the ratio of sweetness to your own liking, or swap out the honey with an amber maple syrup for a deeper sweetness.
But if you can, please use the Maldon salt. It counters the sweetness and brings out the flavour of the nuts and seeds while the white flakes almost burst on the tongue in the most satisfying way.
This batch makes a generous jarful with plenty to sprinkle on yogurt or ice cream, eaten with milk, or just enjoyed by the greedy handful, straight to mouth.
Ryan’s Honey Crackle Granola½ cup shredded coconut ¼ cup honey 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter 4 cups (330g) old fashioned, rolled oats ¼ cup (25g) wheat germ ¼ cup (15g) soy flakes ½ cup (70g) pepitas or shelled sunflower seeds 2 tablespoons (25g) sesame seeds 2 tablespoons flax seeds 1 teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg ½ teaspoon Maldon sea salt ½ cup lightly packed brown sugar 1 cup (150g) almonds, coarsely chopped zest of 1 orange
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat and spread the coconut across in an even layer. Toast in oven for about ten minutes, then remove from oven and let cool. You’ll toss this in to the finished granola at the end.
- Put honey and butter in a small saucepan and heat on medium until melted.
- Combine remaining ingredients in large bowl and pour the melted honey and butter over top. Stir with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are moistened and coated.
- Line two cookie sheets with parchment or a Silpat and divide the mixture between the two sheets, spreading into an even layer. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown, checking frequently towards the end. Remove from oven. The mixture will still be soft but will harden as it cools.
- Allow to cool on cooling racks. Then break into pieces and crumble into a jar along with the toasted coconut. It should keep for a good week or so in an airtight container.