Who does not love granola? After all, it is one of the few super delicious snacks that are healthy. This means that you can consume homemade granola without having to worry too much about putting on excess weight. Thus, when hunger strikes, granola is a good option to rely on. Granola is a great breakfast option, and also doubles up as a wonderful snack. You can have it with some cold or warm milk, or even fresh fruits. It is even a good snack to just munch on when you feel like grabbing something quick. And the fact that it can be stored easily and lasts for really long makes for a good homemade gift.
Why should you prefer homemade granola over store-bought one?
Granola is easily available off the shelves in every supermarket and grocery store out there. Why should you then prefer homemade granola?
One, homemade granola is so much healthier and better. Since it is made with unrefined oil and whole grains, it makes for a better alternative. Also, it is naturally sweetened, so you don’t have to worry about that part either!
Secondly, since you are making your own granola, you can customize the preparation as per your taste. Thus, you can go high or low on a certain nut or dried fruit, depending on what you prefer!
Homemade granola that is freshly baked has no competition. It is full of healthy ingredients that are good for you and is also super delicious at the same time.
Once you try your own homemade granola, there is no going back to the store-bought one, we promise!
Healthy ingredients to include in your granola
Oats form the bulk of the ingredients that are needed to make your own granola. Choose whole-grain oats that are hearty and healthy. They even keep their shape during baking, and give a great crunch to the granola. If you are looking at gluten free granola, feel free to use gluten-free oats.
Nuts and seeds
There are endless options when it comes to nuts and seeds that you can use in your homemade granola. You could use almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, dates, cranberries, dried blueberries, raisins, etc. in your granola. Green pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc. are also all excellent options.
Natural sweetener is what makes your granola healthy. You can use either honey or maple syrup, depending on what you have on hand, and what you prefer. Besides, natural sweeteners give extra delicious flavor to your granola. This is something that cannot be achieved with sugar.
You will have to use some oil to make your granola crisp. Unrefined coconut oil is a good option, and so is olive oil. You will barely be able to taste the oil in the end, and still get the perfect texture.
Salt is an indispensable part of your granola. Do not skip the salt if you are looking at making some flavorful granola. Salt helps to bring out all other flavours, and makes your granola taste delicious. You could use either sea salt or regular salt, again as per your choice.
The best part about making homemade granola! The spices! You can use whatever spices you prefer. From nutmeg powder to cinnamon powder, and from cardamom powder to even pumpkin spice blends, all are excellent options. If you love ginger, even ground ginger is an excellent option.
You can go creative with your extra mix-ins. These will add extra sweetness and chewy textures to your granola. And dried fruits are great to add that fruity flavor. Dried cherries and dried apricots are good options for that. You can even add the zest of lemons and oranges for a fresh and citrus flavor. You can even add chocolate chips to your homemade granola. Yet another option is coconut flakes, which tastes really nutty and toasted in the granola.
How to make your own homemade granola?
Now that you know what all needs to go in your granola, let us make a batch ourselves. You can of course, play around with the proportions, to make it exactly the way you like!
Ingredients to make your own homemade granola
- 2 cups rolled oats
- ¾ cups of nuts and/or seeds, as per preference
- A pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon mixed spices, as per preference
- ¼ cup melted coconut or extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup honey or maple syrup
- 5 ml of vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup dried fruits
- ¼ cup mix-ins that you might want to add, totally optional
Preheat oven to 180 C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, nuts, seeds, salt and spices.
Add in the oil, honey/maple syrup and vanilla. Mix well so that the oats and nuts are lightly coated with the liquids.
Pour this mixture over your prepared tin, and spread in an even layer.
Bake this for about 20-25 minutes, till the granola is light golden in color. Halfway through the baking, stir the mixture once.
When the granola cools down, it will crisp up further.
Do not disturb the mixture, and let it cool down for at least 45 minutes. Top it up with dried fruits and mix-ins that you want to use. Break it with your hands if you want big chunks. Else, just stir the mix with a spoon to break it down into small pieces.
Storing your granola
Homemade granola stores beautifully. If you intend to finish it off in a week or two, you can store it in an airtight container for 2 weeks easily. Else, you can transfer the mix to a sealed bag, and then freeze it for around 3 months. However, the mix will freeze solid. Thus, let it thaw and come to room temperature for around 10-15 minutes before serving.
Tips to make chunky homemade granola
If you love big chunks in your homemade granola, you can follow these easy tips.
- Make sure that you line the tin with parchment paper.
- When stirring the mix halfway through the baking process, press down with the spatula. This will ensure maximum clumps and a chunky granola.
- Let the granola cool down completely before breaking it into chunks.