Nothing beats a good homemade granola. Something about fresh granola always brightens my day! Snacks are tastier, breakfasts are more filling, and desserts are healthier! This recipe for granola is full of nutritious and delicious ingredients like almonds, oats, dried cherries, pumpkin seeds, orange zest, maple syrup, cinnamon, and more! With an hour to spare, you can make a large batch of fresh granola and store it for the coming weeks (if it lasts that long!). And with Mother's Day tomorrow, this makes for a wonderful and special breakfast.
Originally, I was going to title this post “cherry orange almond granola,” but I thought, since everyone likes their own kind of granola, why not create a recipe that is versatile and adaptable each person’s own taste! Some people like it crunchy, others chewy, some chunky, or crispy, it all depends! With that in mind, let’s talk about how to actually make this goodness.
It starts with oats. A whole-lotta oats. Plain, regular oats will do (not the quick oats!). Mix in with some nuts and seeds: I chose whole almonds and pumpkin seeds, but you could use whatever you like. Make sure though to use raw, unsalted nuts/seeds so you add the flavors you want. Dried fruit is always good in granola: apricots, dates, cranberries, raisins, etc. I used dried cherries because they add a tart and bright flavor. Dried fruit is great for adding a chewy texture. To add some heartiness, I like to add ground flaxseed, chia seeds, wheat germ, or anything that adds a nutritional boost. Ground flaxseed is full of Omega-3's, antioxidants, and fiber. You can buy ground flaxseed as is, or ground flaxseeds yourself in a food processor. To flavor this granola, I like to add a little vanilla extract, orange zest (or any citrus zest) and some orange juice. A pinch of cinnamon and clove will compliment the orange citrus wonderfully! To sweeten this granola, I like to add a mixture of brown sugar and maple syrup. The brown sugar thickens and caramelizes the mixture, while the maple syrup adds a rich, deep sweetness. If you prefer a sweeter granola, add more sweetener. Melted coconut oil will bind all the ingredients together. If you like granola chunks, mix in an egg white before baking. This will help achieve those desired clusters without the need to add extra sugar. Oh, and don’t forget the salt!
The amount of baking time will depend on whether you prefer a crunchier or chewier granola. Sometimes I like a chewier granola, which would mean cutting downy the baking time, but today, I decided for a crispy, crunchy texture. For chewiness, add more dried fruit and an egg white in the mixture before baking. Once you’ve baked off the mixture, let it cool, and then comes the hard part...how to eat? You can serve in a parfait (as I did in some pictures you see here) layered with some So Delicious Coconut Yogurt and topped with fruit. You could top a smoothie or add some milk for some cereal. Toss with some chocolate chips for a sweet dessert . Or, my favorite, snacking right from the bowl.
This is a recipe is versatile and adaptable. Adjust the ingredients to your liking. Use gluten-free oats for a gluten-free granola, or omit the egg whites for a vegan recipe, substitute the brown sugar for coconut sugar for a refined-sugar free granola. Use whatever nuts, seeds, or dried fruit you like! This is an easy recipe meant to be stress-free and delicious. You can make on the weekends for breakfast and snacks all week long. I love making a big batch and just keeping it in a large jar for whenever I need. Just in time for Mother’s Day, this would be a special and delicious gift to mom. The most important thing is to just have fun! Enjoy!
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, stir together the oats, almonds, cherries, pumpkin seeds, ground flaxseed, and brown sugar until combined. Add the maple syrup, coconut oil, zest of 1 orange and juice of 1/2, cinnamon, ground clove, salt, and egg whites (optional) and mix together (preferably using your hands) until incorporated (don’t over mix the egg whites so that the clusters can form). Split onto 2 baking sheets and using a spatula or wooden spoon spread out evenly. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes - 1 hour or until golden brown. Stir the granola every 10 minutes. Remove and let cool at room temperature. Store in an air-tight container (in fridge or at room temperature). Enjoy!
To make parfait: In a glass or jar, alternate between layers of granola and yogurt (I used coconut yogurt). Top with fruit and more granola. Serve and enjoy!
Makes: 8 cups granola
Total Time: about 1 - 1 1/4 hours
Note: this recipe is for a big batch, cut in 1/2 for 4 cups of granola.
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup whole raw unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
1 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
1/2 cup raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 orange, zested and 1/2 juiced
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon salt
*optional: 2 egg whites