Warm, fresh, sweet granola. A few years ago I was on a quest to re-create the perfect granola: brown sugar cinnamon, dried fruit, and gorgeous clusters of oats, homemade from a B &B my husband and I had stayed in while we were in Gig Harbor. Unfortunately, after attempting multiple recipes I'd found online, each batch I made came out worse than the previous- loose and not enough flavor, or dry, or just kind of boring. My husband just made fun of me, and we were left with way to much granola no one wanted to eat.
The batches I made never really achieved those sweet little clusters, the clumps of oats. In my opinion, it's all about the CLUMPS! And then, out of no-where, and with ridiculous ease, along came this recipe...
I was inspired to get back to some granola-making by 2 things: 1) Genevieve from Vanilla & Spice's tropical granola and 2) a Facebook friend's pictures of granola insanity- she and her family had made 3 different recipes, and there were sheets and sheets of granola. Of course, I asked for the recipes! This is the first one I tried (since the failed attempts years ago), and it was wicked easy and soooo yummy! AND I made it lower fat, and completely vegan.
Check out my clumps:
My clumps, my clumps, my lovely .... ok I'll stop. But I was pretty psyched.
Recipe adapted from The Amateur Gourmet's Easy Homemade Granola
I recommend doubling if you want it to last for more than a day or two! ;-)
- 2 cups oats (I used about half Quaker quick oats and half whole grain oven toasted oats- Country Choice organic brand)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4-1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil (I used canola oil) - or you can omit completely and just use more banana
- 1/2 small-medium mashed banana, very ripe (or 1 full small-medium banana if using no oil)
- 1/8 cup agave syrup
- 1/8 cup plus 1 tsp pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Optional add-ins: nuts, dried fruits of choice
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- Mix together the oats, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix the oil, banana, syrups, extract and sugar.
- Add the wet to the dry and mix until coated.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and transfer the mix, forming clumps with your hands if desired, but spreading out over the sheet.
- Cook for 15 minutes, and then gently flip the granola and place back in the over for another 15 minutes. Repeat if needed (cooking for up to an additional 5-10 minutes) until golden brown.
The less you toss the mix around, the more it will stay in bigger clumps- but they will be fairly soft if you keep the clumps too big. So it's a balance! If you like your granola crunchier, break up the clumps more.
I reduced the oil from the original recipe from over 3 Tbsp to just 1, and added the banana, plus the maple syrup. The result was sweet and delicious, with just the slightest hint of banana. And honestly, when I made this the second time and didn't use any oil, I didn't really notice a difference. I think using the mix of quick and whole grain toasted oats worked really well to achieve the right texture, too.
This granola tastes especially good with almond milk yogurt and some banana slices, or as a snack on its own.