21 June 2016

Cranberry Coconut Pecan Granola

I love just about everything made it oats- hot oatmeal, cold overnight oats, oatmeal cookies, granola, you name it. Granola is particularly nice to have around as a quick and easy breakfast, especially in the hotter months when hot oatmeal is unappealing, or as a snack. I like to eat it plain, with milk, or over yogurt. When I was in college, the dinning halls made a granola that was AMAZING. It had just the right amount and kind of extras, it was clumpy and crunchy, and was so delicious. I always hate to buy granola, because it's so much more cost effective to make. I'd made a few different kinds that were good, but not great, when I stumbled on this article: How to Make Granola Without a Recipe. This is a really wonderful blueprint to make any kind of granola you like. I highly recommend giving it a read and making up some recipes. I used this blueprint and some inspiration from a hot oatmeal flavor (Cranberry Pecan Vanilla) to wind up with my new favorite granola.

Cranberry Coconut Pecan Granola

Cranberry Coconut Pecan Granola

2 cups oats
1 cup pecans, chopped
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of fresh nutmeg
1 T honey
2-3 T coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp coconut extract (optional and to taste- it's strong!)
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Ready for the oven!
1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a large baking sheet with coconut oil. I like to put a silicone baking mat down first, as it makes transferring the granola into a container easier.

2. Mix together oats, pecans, coconut, brown sugar, cardamom, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a separate container, melt the coconut oil. Mix the extracts and honey into the oil. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Mix together thoroughly.

3. Spread the granola onto the baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through the time. 

4. Gently stir in the dried cranberries and bake for another 5 minutes. You want the oats, nuts, and coconut to be a golden brown and the cranberries to be softened and glistening.

4. Move baking sheet to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before putting into an airtight container.

Tips and tricks:
- Mix the granola up with your hands. Really, nothing does as good a job at getting the wet ingredients nice and incorporated into the dry. You want everything to be well coated with the honey and oil.
- Don't stir the granola when it comes out of the oven the last time! You'll want to, because you've already done it a few times, but if you stir it before it cools, you'll break apart any clumps. Now, if you don't like clumps, then stir away. Personally, I like a few in there, especially if I plan on eating the granola on its own. If it's still not clumpy enough for you, up the amount of oil and/or honey.
- Make it your own! If there's something you don't like, leave it out. If there's something you love, add more. Granola is nothing if not customizable. :)

Yummy granola cooling after it's been baked.

Super easy! I'm on my third batch of this recipe. Pretty much as soon as I run out, I make more- it's that good. I hope you enjoy it too!

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