Granola is one of those staple foods that people seem to love, yet may never learn to make from scratch. I strongly suspect that even for those who do know how to make granola, many purchase one that is almost as good as their own. Why? Convenience. As I've gotten older and time has become more precious than ever, I realize that convenience truly is king...on most days, at least!
I first started working on this recipe when I was approached by a public relations company in Los Angeles that was interested in hiring me for spokesperson work with National Honey Board's Spanish language site, Miel Pura. They wanted recipes with honey that were simple to make, easy to pack and, of course, delicious; granola was one of the first recipes that came to mind.
I had never made my own granola so I searched for recipes online and began experimenting in my kitchen (I love this part!). The main ingredient in all granola is rolled oats, which provides us with healthy carbohydrates, including fiber that fills us up--not to mention that it's consistently one of the lowest priced foods at the grocery store. The sweet ingredients I liked most were honey (I love the flavor and the way it browns the oats) and cherries (so tart...so good!). Not only is honey a natural sweetener that adds fantastic flavor to foods, but did you know that it has antibiotic, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties (Source: Honey.com)? Delicious AND good for you scores big points in my book!
As it turns out, granola is pretty darned simple to make, it just takes a long time to bake. I think the only way you could possibly mess this up is by a) burning it because you forgot it was in the oven (use a timer!) or b) you got a bit too "creative" and added in way too many spices. When it comes to granola, keep it simple. Less really is more in a recipe like this...which makes me wonder why most packaged versions have so much junk added to them. The beauty of making your own food is that you decide what goes into each recipe, from start to finish.
How do I know this recipe is a keeper? My kids love it, especially when I use it in a parfait (like this Honey Apple Yogurt Parfait recipe I created for the Honey Board) and my dad loves it. My mom keeps requesting more granola because my dad adds it into his morning cereal (and, trust me, my dad knows breakfast...he eats it for like an hour every morning...in stages. It's an epic experience.)
Try out this recipe and let me know what you think! It's a great foodie-gift, too! Make a batch and store it in a zip-top bag, Mason jar or (my favorite) a large clamp-lid jar.
*Disclosure: I created this recipe as part of my paid spokesperson work with MielPura.org. This recipe is featured on National Honey Board's English and Spanish language websites. Although I was compensated for creating the recipes, all opinions and enjoyment of honey are completely my own!!
*Check out my YouTube video of this recipe at the end of this post!
Honey Almond Cherry Granola
Recipe by: Christy Wilson, RD
Serves: 24, 1/4 cup servings
Recipe makes: About 6 cups
Total time: 1 hour 30 min (15-20 min prep, 1 hour 15 min baking time)
- 3 cups rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds, roughly chopped
½ cup walnut pieces
¼ cup hemp hearts
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
¼ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup honey, plus 2 tablespoons
¼ cup canola oil (or any vegetable oil of your choice)
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup dried cherries
Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 250°F. Line a large rimmed baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine oats, almonds, walnuts, hemp hearts, shredded coconut and brown sugar together. Mix until combined.
In a medium bowl, add 1/4 cup honey, oil, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla extract together. Whisk ingredients until a thick syrup forms.
Pour honey syrup over the dry oat mixture and stir for a few minutes or until all dry ingredients are coated and moist.
Spread mixture evenly in prepared sheet pan. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons of honey over the top of the granola. Place sheet pan in preheated oven and cook for 1 hour 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes until granola reaches an evenly toasted color.
Once granola has cooled completely, add in dried cherries and mix until evenly distributed.
Store prepared granola in an airtight container at room temperature for a few weeks or freeze in a zip-top bag for several months.
Nutrition Facts per serving: 1/4 cup granola
Calories: 160, Total Fat: 9gr; Saturated Fat: 1.5gr; Trans fat: 0gr; Cholesterol: 0gr; Sodium: 75mg; Total Carbohydrates: 18gr; Dietary Fiber: 2gr; Sugar: 8gr; Protein: 3gr; Vit.A: 2%; Calcium: 2%; Iron: 6%