Made From Scratch: Chunky Coconut Granola

 
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Why make your own granola?

Commercial granola is filled with sugar and has added salt and preserving agents, The gourmet granola from your local bakery or specialty shop might not be as fresh as you would like plus it's super expensive for a small amount that will only feed yourself. By making your own you'll save money and get a better product. But the best reason, in my opinion, is the sense of satisfaction you'll get from making something by hand.

This granola is quick to make - it takes less than 10 minutes to prep, and you probably already have most of the ingredients in your cupboard!

This chunky granola is loaded with a tropical coconut flavour and tiny bursts of sweetness from dried blueberries. Not a coconut lover? No Problem. You can adjust the flavours to make it fit your own tastes. Olive oil can be swapped out for coconut oil and you can play with any combination of nuts and dried fruit. Just make sure to replace the exact quantity, otherwise your granola might have a hard time sticking together. 

You can use granola in a lot of different ways - a quick snack out of hand to satisfy your sweet tooth, paired with yogurt or milk for breakfast, as a topping over fruit, or even sprinkled on peanut butter and toast. The recipe makes a large batch, so there will be plenty to share with your family, a co-worker or a friend.

Things to Know Before Starting:

To get the perfect chunky granola texture, you need to pack down the oats evenly into a rimmed baking sheet, making sure to fill the edges and corners before baking. Then, wait until the granola has cooled completely before transferring to a jar. This way, you'll get large clusters of oat goodness that are evenly cooked.

Use a heavy bottomed, rimmed baking sheet. If you don't have one, simply double up your pan to prevent the bottom from getting too brown and your granola tasting bitter.

Rotate the pan midway through baking to prevent the edges from getting too dark.

Break up the dried cherries if using. I noticed that they tend to stick together in clumps when added to the oat mixture.

Baker's Notes:

This recipe calls for rolled oats, also know as old fashioned or large flaked oats.

The difference between oat types has to do with how they are processed. Rolled oats are lightly steamed, then flattened, and as a result, cook faster and have a lighter texture. Steel cut oats, sometimes called Irish or Scottish oats, are not pressed flat and therefore have a heavier, grainier texture. Steel cut oats make a very hearty oatmeal. Instant oats, on the other hand, are pre-cooked, dried, then pressed back into flakes - they're not to be used in baking.

Ingredients

5 cups large flaked rolled oats

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 cup chopped almonds

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 cup dried blueberries

1/2 cup dried cherries

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F.

Line a 13 x 18 inch rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Mix together oats, coconut, almonds, and pumpkin seeds in a large bowl. With your hands break up the cherries so they are not stuck together and mix them into the oat mixture.

Whisk together coconut, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Pour liquid over oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until throughly coated.

Spread mixture onto prepared pan in an even layer and making sure to push mixture to there edges. With the back of the spoon , press down mixture, this helps the granola clump together. Bake until mixture turns light golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Rotate the pan half way for an evenly browned granola. The granola is ready when the edges start to crisp. Don’t over cook.

Remove from oven and let mixture oil in pan for 1 hour before breaking granola in clusters.

Store in an air-tight container for 2 weeks or for longer shelf life freeze for 1 month.

Makes 11 cups

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Marisa Curatolo