Having made countless batches of granola over the years, I’ve learned a few ways to achieve success, every time.
1. Firstly, it’s imperative to keep the oven temperature low. (Low and slow is the way to go, if you will.)
2. Secondly, add salt. I almost exclusively use fine grey sea salt in my cooking; the taste is crisp and clean, working well in both savoury and sweet applications. Do not fear the salt or you’ll be left with a bland granola.
3. Thirdly, consider your sweeteners. After playing with coconut sugar, maple syrup, and honey, I think I’ve found my ideal mix. Honey is not recommended as it burns easily and doesn’t crisp well (I have a new granola recipe using honey here if you’re interested–I’ve finally nailed it!). Coconut or cane sugars are okay, but they’re best mixed with a liquid sweetener, like maple syrup, my preferred sweetener of choice. But, there’s always room for improvement, so I decided to do something a little different here: I used apple juice. I tried to keep the natural sugars as low as possible in this recipe without sacrificing taste.
With the low and slow cooking, a mixture of apple juice and maple syrup creates a delicate granola with the ideal balance of sweetness. This is not a granola cluster recipe or a recipe for granola filled with clusters, but I do have those in the archives and in my first cookbook, Whole Bowls.
Simple and Healthy Granola Recipe
This truly healthy granola recipe is just sweet enough, packed with hearty whole grain oats, seeds, and tangy dried cranberries. To change up the flavour, try orange juice instead of apple juice, dried cherries in place of dried cranberries, chopped almonds instead of seeds, and so on; it’s a basic base recipe that you can mix and match to your heart’s content. If you can part with any, pack it up in glass jars to gift.
For a granola recipe with loads of clusters, try my Honey, Almond, and Chia Cluster Granola recipe instead of or in addition to this more traditional recipe.
Makes approximately 4 cups
3 cups large-flake/old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/4 cup raw hulled sunflower seeds
1 tbsp poppy seeds or sesame seeds or chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 300ºF. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix oats, cranberries, seeds, cinnamon, and salt. In a small saucepan, combine apple juice, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla; heat until coconut oil is melted and add to oat mixture, stirring well to combine.
- Transfer granola mixture to prepared baking sheet. Press mixture in a single layer, 1/4-inch in thickness.
- Bake for 45 minutes; toss. Bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Turn off oven and allow granola to sit for 10 minutes more in the oven (skip this if your oven is hot and granola looks like it could burn). Cool completely (the granola will crisp as it cools) before storing in a sealed container at room temperature for 1 to 2 months.