The MOM 100 Blog
Granola is so customizable that once you start playing around with it, making granola can become almost as addictive as the granola itself. Although you will not actually be making the granola on a weekday morning, unless you plan to get up extra early, it will become a fantastic breakfast staple in your home.
You’ve probably read all about how most store-bought granolas have so much fat and sugar in them that you’d be better off eating a slab of French toast drizzled with syrup atop a plate of eggs Benedict for breakfast. And let’s face it, that’s why those granolas taste so decadent. You will notice that this recipe also has a bit of fat and sweetening in it, because otherwise the granola would in fact not taste so great (and it does taste great), but it is a much more tolerable amount than what you will find in most of the stuff you can buy. The granola keeps well, so feel free to double or triple the recipe.
For breakfast with milk, delicious, but if you are a granola person, relegating granola to breakfast simply will not do. You will start to look for opportunities to work granola into different corners of the day. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Use granola as a topping for yogurt, plain or flavored, and maybe some fresh fruit, too, layered up all parfaitlike; on ice cream; on oatmeal for some nice contrasting texture; in a little cup, as a dip for a banana—dip, bite, repeat; as a topping for a fruit crisp—sprinkle it on, dot it with tiny pieces of butter, and bake.
1⁄4 cup honey
1⁄4 cup pure maple syrup
2 large egg whites (see Note)
1⁄3 cup vegetable oil, plus oil for the baking sheet (optional)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt
1⁄2 teaspoon grated orange zest (optional)
4 cups old-fashioned oats (not quick-cooking)
1 cup chopped unsalted nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, pistachios, cashews, or almonds (optional)
2 cups mixed chopped dried fruit, such as apricots or prunes, and/or dried cherries, blueberries, cranberries, and raisins
Nonstick cooking spray (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 275°F.
- Place the honey, maple syrup, egg whites, oil, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and orange zest, if using, in a large bowl and mix until well blended. Set 1⁄2 cup of the honey mixture aside in a medium-size bowl. Add the oats and nuts, if using, to the large bowl and mix with a spoon or your hands until everything is well combined and coated.
- Add the dried fruit to the reserved 1⁄2 cup of the honey mixture and stir to combine. Set the dried fruit mixture aside.
- Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, or coat it lightly with oil, or line it with parchment paper. Spread the oat mixture out on the prepared baking sheet in a thin, even layer. Bake the oat mixture for 30 minutes.
- Add the dried fruit mixture to the oat mixture and stir well with a spoon mixture or spatula to combine. Spread the granola out again in an even layer. Bake the granola until the oats are golden brown and crunchy, 40 to 45 minutes, stirring it once more halfway through the baking time but leave some clumps! Let the granola cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack.
What's With the Egg Whites?
You know those awesome clumps you find in granola? The ones that you just want to pick out and eat with your fingers and not even bother with a spoon and a bowl and all of that? Well, egg whites help clump up all of those great bits and pieces as the granola bakes. The maple syrup and honey help too, of course, but that's what the egg whites are doing without any extra fat, sugar, or detectable flavor. The egg whites actually reduce the need for ridiculous amounts of oil and sugar.
The granola bakes first without the dried fruit because the fruit doesn’t need as much time to get just the right amount of done. Trial and error confirmed that cooking the fruit for the whole 1 ¼ hours made it too tough and slightly burned tasting, while about 45 minutes was just enough to make it chewy and incorporated into the mix.
You betcha; this granola keeps for three weeks in a cool place, well sealed.
What the Kids Can Do
Measure and mix and spread everything out on the baking sheet. With supervision regarding the hot baking sheet, they can gently stir the granola during baking.