Me and granola, we have issues (as you may have guessed from the title of this post). Our issues go way back, and I will tell you that I came to this post and this recipe with no small amount of baggage. Granola baggage, to be exact. Here’s the thing… I started making granola back in the 70’s when it was a totally hip and cool thing to do. Everyone ate granola; everyone made granola. We ate it with abandon, we cooked with it and put it in our cookies, breads and cakes and muffins. We were young and skinny and who cared that there were about a thousand calories in a handful. It was good stuff.
Then came the 80’s, the ‘90’s, and not so young and not so skinny, and who could afford all those calories, and the lowfat versions tasted like cardboard, only crunchier. And so I abandoned granola. For about 30 years. Just stopped eating it. No granola.
But recently I’d begun to wonder… would it be, could it be possible to make some granola that wasn’t overly sweet and didn’t contain a quart of oil? It had to be. Besides, 30 years is dang long enough to be without it.
So I started with Ina Garten’s granola recipe. Since there are 2 cups of sweetened coconut in it, I decided that’s all the sweetness I would need, and eliminated the ½ cup of honey. Her recipe calls for ¾ cup of vegetable oil, so I reduced that to 1/3 cup but swapped it out for virgin coconut oil.
Now, if you’re familiar with coconut oil, you already know the health benefits associated with it. And you know that it comes in solid form. So I just heated it ever so slightly in the microwave until it melted to a pourable consistency and it worked perfectly.
This granola turned out astonishingly good… toasted oats, almonds, coconut, dried cranberries and apricots…. incredibly scrumptious, perfect granola… not too sweet, not too rich and heavy, yet super flavorful and delicious.
I honestly don’t know what I was thinking all those years. Not thinking can be difficult. It cost me precious time with granola that I now happily sprinkle on top of yogurt or douse with milk and fresh fruit or just grab for a mid-afternoon handful….without the thousand calories. Gotta love that. Here’s the recipe…
I make this granola about every 10 days; we go through it that fast. You can add or subtract the amounts of coconut oil and molasses depending on your tastes, but these are the proportions that I use. We sprinkle it over yogurt for our breakfast every morning, but it's just as good with milk and fresh fruit or over ice cream. Enjoy!
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
2 cups sliced almonds
!/4 to 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
1/4 to 1/3 cup molasses
2-3 cups dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries, etc.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat the coconut oil briefly in the microwave until just melted and set aside.
Toss the oats, coconut, and almonds together in a large bowl. Pour the coconut oil over the oat mixture and stir well to coat. Drizzle in the molasses, stirring to mix well until all the oats and nuts are coated. Pour onto a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Bake for 15 minutes and then remove from the oven and stir well to keep it from burning. Return the pan to the oven and cook another 15 minutes, stir once more and then bake for 8 more minutes. Let it cool completely in the pan before adding the dried fruit. Store in an airtight container.