Homemade is just better.
There are some things that make more sense to purchase already prepared; I don’t make my own pickles or cure my own bacon or know how to make cheese or “process” chickens from a backyard coop. But most of the time, I’m surprised that it’s just as easy (and cheaper and healthier and yummier) to make things at home than it is to pick them up at the grocery store. Barbeque sauce. Salad dressing. Fruit jam. Cookies and cakes and breads. Pizza dough. And my go-to homemade item: granola.
There are hundreds of delicious granola recipes, which makes it fun to experiment with your own mixture of deliciousness. For years, I’ve been making a simple baked granola that I saw on an old episode of The Barefoot Contessa. Last year, I tried Hungry Girl Por Vida’s delicious version using coconut oil for the first time. Recently, I took a peek in my pantry and (with the approaching gluttonous holiday season in mind) created a super healthy version, packed with seeds and nuts. The best part? It’s just so easy to make.
One of my requirements for homemade granola is shredded coconut. Chewy texture, tropical sweetness…I just love it! I also grabbed almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, raisins, and – of course- oats.
Being autumn, I wanted a seasonal twist to this batch, so I added nutmeg to the mix, along with my favorite cinnamon. Instead of honey, I grabbed maple syrup, and instead of vegetable oil, I decided to go with coconut oil. Oh, and vanilla!
There are more ingredients in this recipe than I usually use for granola, but the process is the same. The oats, nuts, and seeds went into a big bowl with the coconut. Once mixed together, I warmed the coconut oil to its liquid state and poured it right into the bowl.
Next, I added the spices, syrup, and vanilla. I love the salty-sweet combo, so I sprinkled in a fat pinch of kosher salt, too. It’s important to mix the unbaked granola really well so that all parts of it are moistened. And then it bakes.
Paying attention while the granola bakes is maybe the most important part of the process. To get that golden browned crunch, you have to stir it every few minutes. That way, it bakes evenly and the edges don’t burn. Your kitchen will smell heavenly!
When the granola is as toasty as you like, it just needs to cool a bit before stirring in the raisins. I also found some dried blueberries in the pantry, so I tossed those in, too. The fruit adds a tart sweetness that balances out the spices. YUM.
You could eat this granola with milk, like cereal, or munch it plain- but the way I like to eat it is stirred into yogurt. I usually go for raspberry flavor, but recently found this delish honey Greek yogurt. It’s perfect with the maple-y cinnamon coconut flavors of this granola.
The seeds and nuts offer a crunch that goes well with the chewy texture of the fruit and coconut. It’s scrumptious- and it’s healthy!
If only I could say the same for another favorite seasonal homemade item: eggnog.
What’s your favorite “homemade is better” item? Share with me!
*One year ago: Bliss bits 11/21.
“Seeds and Nuts” Maple Granola
- 3 cups oats
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- ½ cup flax seeds
- ½ chopped pecans
- 2/3 cup chopped almonds
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1 cup raisins
- ½ cup dried blueberries
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine oats, coconut, seeds, and nuts. Melt the coconut oil and add it to the bowl, along with the spices, vanilla, and maple syrup. Add a generous pinch of salt. Combine well and spread evenly on a baking pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes, then stir the granola and re-spread evenly on the pan. Bake for 4-5 minutes at a time, stirring in between, until the granola is golden brown and the edges are starting to get slightly crunchy. Allow to cool a bit before adding the raisins and blueberries. Store in an airtight container and serve with your favorite yogurt, milk, or by the handful. YUM!
**Hungry for more? Check out the FOOD BLISS link above!**