Coconut Walnut Granola

Homemade Granola

Every morning at the cabin around 7 a.m., the landlords would hang a breakfast basket on a hook just outside the front door. The contents would change daily, but there was an overall theme – orange juice, fruit, some combination of granola or cereal with yogurt or milk, a homemade sweet pastry, and a homemade savory pastry.

I’d wake up and grab my basket from the hook, make myself a cup of coffee, rewarm the pastries in the oven, and then carry my repast to the flagstone patio. I’d spend the remainder of the morning watching the sun peek its head above the mountaintop while munching on my breakfast.

I made this granola upon my return to help ease me back into workday life and remind me of breakfast at the cabin.


Coconut Walnut Granola


Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup toasted flax seeds
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup desiccated unsweetened coconut

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the oats, walnuts, and pepitas together in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt, cinnamon and cardamom. Cover with oil, maple syrup and vanilla and stir well.
  2. Spread granola on a half-sheet pan and bake about 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until granola is evening brown.
  3. Remove from oven and immediately add flax seeds, raisins, and coconut to sheet pan. Cool and store.

Beginning to See the Light Granola

I’ve been going through an interminable five month depression, primarily brought on by a work schedule impossible to maintain. Work has finally slowed and I’m beginning to come up for air – sixteen pounds heavier, toxic and worn out. In an effort to find my health again, I joined a gym and hired a personal trainer last week. After eating a full bag of Pepperidge Farm Maui cookies on Monday and three quarters of a bag of Newton’s blueberry Fruit Thins on Wednesday, I decided my diet needs an overhaul, too, but any willpower I may possess is melted by crispy, crunchy, chewy, buttery sweet carbs. Pastries make me happy like Prozac. In an effort to channel my love of a good cookie into something a bit more healthful, I whipped up a batch of granola this morning, capturing the flavors and textures without all the wheat, sugar and fat.

Granola

Beginning to See the Light Granola

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3 cups assorted nuts and seeds (unsalted and unroasted, if possible)
½ – ¾ t. salt
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. cardamom
¼ t. ginger
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup liquid sweetener (such as honey, maple syrup or agave syrup)
1 t. vanilla
1 cup dried fruit, chopped if needed (unsweetened and unsulfured, if possible)

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine oats, nuts and seeds in a large bowl (I used chopped almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. I also used about ¼ cup toasted flax seeds, but added them at the end since they were pre-toasted). Add salt and spices. Add oil, sweetener and vanilla. Stir until moistened and combined. Turn out on to a Silpat covered sheet pan.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes, stirring at the following times: 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 25 minutes, 30 minutes, and 35 minutes. Chop and measure fruit while granola bakes. If you use coconut, add coconut at the 20 minute mark. Add dried fruit (and any toasted nuts) to the hot granola. I used coconut, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, and apricots and also added the flax at this time. Cool granola and store.

Note: I like to pour almond milk over the still hot granola to make a tummy-warming snack to nibble while the rest of the granola cools.