It’s hard to believe next weekend is Halloween and that fall officially started over a month ago. Temperatures here have been anything but fall-like, with highs in the upper 70s and low 80s. Where have all my favorite cold and dreary days been this year? I sure miss them.
It might sound strange, but fall is actually my favorite season because of all the cool, rainy weather we typically have. It’s a great excuse to turn on the oven and start my annual fall baking marathon. Okay fine, I don’t really need an excuse to bake; I’m just ready for fall.
And one my favorite things to bake year-round is my homemade granola. Hi. My name is Amy, and I’m a granola addict. Admitting it is the first step, right? I have tried my share of store-bought granolas, but, in my opinion, nothing compares to this. It’s crunchy, slightly sweet, and absolutely delicious. Oh, and did I mention you can make a huge batch and freeze it? Yes, it’s that awesome. You’re welcome. Oh, and if you use certified gluten free oats, it’s also gluten free. Another bonus.
My hunt for great granola started with my love for yogurt and granola at breakfast time. I’m not a sausage, egg or hash brown kind of girl. That is, of course, my husband’s favorite breakfast. We are total opposites on the breakfast spectrum, but we just agree to disagree on the best breakfast.
So while trying to find a granola that would suit my fancy and fill my growling belly, I ended up creating this recipe. A tweak here, a pinch there, and voila! My favorite granola recipe! Even my daughter and high school students like this one, so it’s also kid friendly!
This granola finds its way into my oven on a VERY regular basis and it pairs really well with dried cherries (sour are my favorite), dried cranberries, or even dried raisins. I’ve eaten it in a bowl with milk or from a metal spoon. I’ve eaten it with yogurt. I’ve eaten it at noon! Sorry, I couldn’t help it. My two-year-old daughter is really into Dr. Seuss right now.
If you’re looking for a delicious and easy way to make your house smell like cinnamon, maple and vanilla, look no further. This granola will do just that. It might possibly get you in the baking mood, even when the temperatures outside aren’t cooperating.
- 8 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (use certified gluten free, if necessary)
- 1¼ cup milled flax seed
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup rough chopped pecans
- 1½ cups sunflower seeds
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- 1¼ cup maple syrup
- ¾ cup coconut oil, melted (Use refined to avoid coconut flavor)
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- In a very large bowl, combine the oats, milled flax seed, almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well.
- In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, melt the coconut oil, then add the maple syrup and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
- Pour liquids over the dry ingredients and stir well to coat. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- While granola is resting, preheat oven to 250° and line two 12x18 baking sheets with parchment paper. (This will help with clean-up later.)
- After the granola has rested, stir one last time and evenly distribute among the two baking sheets. Place one sheet on the top rack and one on the bottom rack. And bake for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, remove pans, stir granola gently, then return in back to the oven, rotating the pans, so the pan that was previously on the bottom is now on the top. This will help ensure even baking throughout.
- Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour more. Remove from oven and taste a few pieces to check for doneness. Granola should be crispy and nuts should be have a nice "nutty" smell to them.
- Place baking sheets on a cooling rack and allow granola to cool completely. Once cool, stir and store in an air-tight container. Mason jars work well for this.
- Dried fruit can also be added, but I prefer to add mine when I eat the granola. It can become hard when stored with the granola.
- *Note: You can also store this in the freezer for several months.