Are you a “Granola”? I think I am…as a child who grew up in the 60’s; my mom embraced whole foods and grains and I remember making and eating granola long before it was cool. So I guess, yes, I am a Granola, I’ve always loved granola, all kinds, soft and some hard and crunchy.
Word origins have always been interesting to me, as I was thinking about doing this post, I wondered where in the world did we get the word “Granola” from, I thought perhaps it was a twist on the word “grains”, but while I haven’t vetted this article, it is certainly an interesting story on the alleged history of granola and how the name came about; actually born out of a couple cereal moguls you will still recognize today. Read it if you have the time, fascinating I think.
Some might balk at the very first ingredient, it’s ½ cup of melted butter, (I’ve hidden it under the oats, I actually forgot to take a picture of it) you can use oil in it’s place, or if you like coconut as I do, replace it with same measurements of melted coconut oil, but it most certainly will have a strong coconut flavor and smell to it, so you do need to like coconut. This makes a large batch, so don’t let a half a cup of any fat scare you away. Plus I use grass fed butter, well the butter wasn’t grass fed, but the cows that gave the milk were…ha!
Start by lightly spraying your crock pot with some non-stick spray, then pour in your melted butter* and then toss in your 5-6 cups of rolled (not quick) oats and give it a quick stir. You can also wait and pour the butter at the very end.
*You can melt the butter in the crock pot, but I find it takes quite a while to do so, so I usually melt my butter on the stovetop.
Next add a generous tablespoon (or two) of ground flax meal (or whole flax seeds if you prefer the seeds), my boys don’t notice the meal which is why I use that instead. Here I’ve used Golden Flax Meal.
Next add a couple tablespoons of light brown sugar, this is optional, but I am making a Maple Pecan Granola, so a bit of sweet is called for, I think. Again it’s not a lot for the amount of granola you will get.
Then pour in a couple of teaspoons of vanilla.
Next are your Chia seeds, again these are optional, but the more good stuff I can put in this granola the better and chia seeds are so teensy, most people don’t even realize they are eating them. Every time I see a chia seed I cannot help thinking of the Chia Pet commercials from growing up, do they still have those?
Next add your salt, yes salt, it brings out the ultimate “oaty-ness” of the oats…yum
That is your basic recipe, really from here on these are options, I am showing you how to make Maple Pecan Granola, so from here on out this is what makes it Maple Pecan-y. So very fall like.
Start by adding a cup of pecans (or a variety of your favorite nuts)
Add your spices next. Here I added 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, I like to just eyeball it, absolute measurements are not necessary for granola, make it to your liking. I accidentally bought cinnamon that had chia seeds in it, so thought this was a great place to use it.
I wanted a bit of the pumpkin pie spices, so also added ½ teaspoon nutmeg and slightly under that of cloves, add ¼ teaspoon of ginger if you like it as well.
What in the world is up with my hand? Hands aren’t very pretty to take pictures of, note to self.
Next add your honey; good local raw & unfiltered honey*, it’s so very good for you.
TIP: Did you know that honey is the only food that won’t spoil? It has an indefinite shelf life if kept closed. It will crystallize and harden, but all you need to do is place the container in a pan with hot water (don’t boil) until it returns to it’s original honey-like state. You might need to turn your burner on and off so it isn’t doesn’t get to a boiling point. But it does have bacteria in it, which is good for anyone over the age of 1, but this bacteria can be dangerous in infants, not that you’ll feed your infant granola, but just in case and it’s cooked. Although I know my mom gave me raw honey in my bottle when I was a baby…and I’m okay, I think, well maybe that is debatable!
We cannot forget the maple portion, oh my delicious maple syrup, pure maple syrup please, kind of an acquired taste I think, I don’t remember liking the pure stuff when I was younger, it was so strong, but as an adult, oh my goodness I love it. If you use maple syrup, reduce your honey by the amount of syrup you are putting in. If only a few tablespoons then don’t worry about.
Give it all a good stir with a wooden spoon, it will start out rather clumpy as things stick to the honey and syrup, but don’t worry as it melts and cooks it will mix about. Stir it every 15 minutes, so you can’t just put it in the crock pot and leave. Sorry.
Turn your crock pot on high, yep, high and place the wooden spoon between the lid so that you prop the lid open slightly, this allows some heat and steam to escape while it’s cooking.
Set a timer for 15 minutes and continue to stir every 15 minutes for about 1-½ hours, being careful towards the end as it can actually burn, so watch around that hour mark. YUM!
When it’s finished to your liking, pour onto a large piece of parchment or wax paper or onto a cookie sheet to allow to cool completely before bagging.
After it’s cooled, add your chocolate mix in’s if adding. If you put it in the cooker, it will melt as it’s cooking.
Scoop into quart size freezer baggies (it will make between 3-4 full baggies worth). I like to keep one in the cupboard and the rest in the freezer, or give it away, it makes a lovely hostess gift or neighbor gift.
When you are ready to use, eat in a bowl with milk or my preferred method as a mid morning snack with a little vanilla yogurt and berries.
Here I’ve made it with vanilla, blackberries and pomegranate arils. Delicious!
For parfait’s, pick out a pretty glass, any pretty glass will do (a mason jar, wine glass, martini class or pretty glass bowls). Alternate layers, starting with granola, then yogurt and berries, topped with more granola and finally a dollop of yogurt on top with a few additional berries.
Suddenly a plain ol’ granola is all dressed up and is looking a lot like a dessert!
- BASIC SOFT GRANOLA
- 5-6 cups rolled oats, not quick oats
- ½ cup butter, melted (or ¼ cup melted butter + ¼ cup oil or replace butter with ½ cup oil of choice)
- 2 Tablespoons Flax Seeds or Flax Meal (I used Golden Flax Meal)
- 1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
- 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup honey
- OPTIONAL ADD INS
- ½ cup slivered almonds or any other nut/seed of choice
- ½ cup shredded or flaked coconut (unsweetened)
- 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ cup dried fruit (dried cranberries, raisins, chopped dates, dried cherries, etc)
- ¼ cup maple syrup (reduce honey, by ¼ cup in most cases)
- MAPLE PECAN GRANOLA
- Basic Granola Recipe
- 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ⅓ teaspoon ginger (optional) above spices may be replaced with 2 rounded teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
- Reduce honey to ¼ cup and add ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- HAWAIIAN GRANOLA
- Basic Granola Recipe
- ½ - 1 cup unsweetened coconut, shredded or flaked
- ½ - 1 cup roasted (salted ok) macadamia nuts, rough chopped
- Replace butter with ½ cup melted coconut oil (or just ¼ cup oil and ¼ cup butter)
- DARK CHOCOLATE GRANOLA (my husbands favorite)
- Basic Granola Recipe
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup dried cranberries or cherries (optional)
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks *mixed in after granola has cooled)
- TRAILMIX GRANOLA
- Basic Granola Recipe
- ½ cup cashews (raw or roasted/salted) rough chopped if desired
- ¼ cup roasted pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup roasted sunflower seeds
- ½ cup walnuts, rough chopped
- ½ cup pecans, rough chopped
- ½ cup dried fruit (raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, dried mango, etc)
- Additional ¼ cup honey or maple syrup
- ½ cup chocolate chips, added after granola has cooled (optional)
- YOGURT PARFAITS
- 1 cup vanilla yogurt (or other flavor of choice, I love Noose Vanilla Bean yogurt)
- ¼ cup prepared granola
- ¼ cup berries of choice (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries (chopped), pomegranate arils, etc)
- I've changed up my ingredients at all times, the beauty of this recipe is that it is totally customizable, so feel free to make your own or follow one of mine.
- You need a larger crockpot for this recipe, if you have a small cooker, then reduce the amounts. This can also easily be doubled in a large crockpot.
- Spray crock with non-stick spray.
- Add all dry ingredients to crockpot, give it a stir.
- Add melted butter (or oil) and honey (or maple syrup) and stir well.
- Turn crockpot on high, venting the lid with a wooden spoon.
- Stir well every 15 minutes, cooking for 1 - ½ hours.
- Watching close at the end as it can burn.
- Turn onto wax or parchment paper or onto a cookie sheet to cool.
- Add any after cooling mix-ins (such as chocolate chips/chunks).
- Package in quart size freezer baggies and freeze any unused portions.
- Great as hostess gifts or new neighbors, or just because.
- For Yogurt Bowls or Parfaits
- Start by placing a small portion of granola on the bottom of the bowl/glass
- Next layer the majority of your yogurt, reserving a generous dollop for the top.
- Add berries on top of the yogurt (reserving 2-3 for top)
- Add the rest of your granola
- Finish with final dollop of yogurt and reserved berries or pomegranate arils.
- Serve immediately or place in refrigerator until ready to serve, but not much longer than a couple hours, unless you don't mind the granola really soft.