Friday, February 20, 2015

Homemade Coconut, Almond Granola

Have you stopped and actually taken a look around?  Granola is everywhere.  There are so many prepackage variations for sale.  There are even more recipes floating around the internet.  And have you seen Pinterest?  We won't even go there.  But, let's just say that if you were in the market for granola and didn't have a recipe then it wouldn't hard to find a few hundred options.

So why do you think there is such an abundance of options out there?  Well I have my theories.  People are trying to be healthier, would be the first thing that comes to mind.  And while I do like to have healthy snacks on hand, that is just one of the many reasons I'm obsessed with granola.

Granola is perfect for so many reasons.  It's a great on-the-go snack.  It's a perfect quick breakfast that pairs so wonderfully with berries and yogurt.  It can also be enjoyed as cereal or in addition to cereal.  Granola is one of those things my entire family loves.  Once a batch is made, it doesn't take long for it to disappear.

Now I know there are tons of options for the store bought stuff, and there's nothing wrong with it.  But let me plead my case why I prefer the homemade stuff.  First and foremost, YOU control the ingredients.  You can choose exactly what goes in {and what doesn't}, which also means you get to customize the flavors to exactly what you and your family love.  Oh, and did I mention it costs less?  Oh, and it's super easy and comes together in literally 5 minutes from the time you mix it together until it goes in the oven?
Granola isn't a lot of specialty ingredients.  I make different combinations depending on what I have on hand.  Some of our favorites are brown sugar granolachocolate chip granola, and a version packed with dried cranberries, white chocolate and almonds.  This version that I just pulled from the oven has to be one of my new favorites; it's packed with tons almonds, coconut oil and coconut flakes.  Another thing I'm especially fond of are the clusters of granola, perfect for picking up and popping in your mouth whenever the craving hits.

So the next time you get a hankerin' for some granola, forget that store bought stuff and make your own at home!

Homemade Coconut, Almond Granola
Ingredients:

4 Cups oats
1 1/4 Cup almonds, roughly chopped
3/4 Cup coconut flakes
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp cinnamon
1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp coconut oil*
1 Tsp vanilla
1/2 Cup honey

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300.

Combine oats, almonds, coconut flakes, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl and stir to combine.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan combine coconut oil, vanilla and honey, place over medium heat.  Once the mixture is warm, stir to combine.  Bring mixture to a boil and allow to boil for one minute.  Remove from heat and carefully pour over the oat mixture.  Stir to incorporate, until all the oats are coated.  Pour on a large, rimmed sheet tray and spread into an even layer.  Place in the preheated oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, flipping the mixture with a large spatula half way through the baking time.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

For clumps: gently press the mixture down immediately when it comes out of the oven.  Once the mixture is cooled completely use a large spatula and gently lift the the sheet of granola and gently break into clumps.  Place in an airtight container and store.

For loose, regular granola: Crumble granola into pieces, store in an airtight container.

Serve alone, over yogurt or mix with corn flakes and pour milk over the mixture to make your own honey bunches of oats.

*If you don't have or like coconut, simply use canola oil in place of the coconut oil and omit the coconut flakes.

Recipe source: Adapted from Family Favorite Recipes

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