Homemade Apple Cinnamon Granola

Honestly, is there anything better than homemade granola? I don’t know about you, but there’s something so satisfying about this crunchy, nutty treat! Not to mention it makes your kitchen smell AMAZING! Before I started making my own, I used to splurge on the good stuff. You know, the superfood, low glycemic, ancient grains kind of stuff that is so ridiculously expensive. I’d buy it because for one, I never thought I could make my own and have it taste just as good. And two, the regular stuff was typically packed with unnecessary oils and refined sugar. Luckily, those days are over, and I’ve confidently made the switch to homemade!

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Introducing the Basics of Homemade Granola.

Rolled oats: Be sure to use certified gluten-free oats if you want gluten-free granola.

Nuts and/or seeds: For this recipe, I used almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. Other options include pecans, cashews, peanuts, pistachios, flax seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds and sunflower seeds.

Healthy fats: Coconut oil, it helps make the granola crispy. I like to use organic unrefined coconut oil - it produces the perfect texture, and you can barely taste the coconut, if at all. Olive oil is another option if you’d like your granola to be a little more on the savoury side.

Natural sweetener: I love using real maple syrup. Honey works great, too. I also like to use applesauce, it gives it a natural sweetness and for some reason helps make the granola super clumpy.

Salt and spice: Salt is essential for flavourful granola. Too little, and it won’t bring out the flavours. I like to use fine-grain sea salt. As for spice, I added cinnamon to this batch, but you could also add ground ginger or pumpkin spice if you’re feeling festive.

Dried fruit: I didn’t add any dried fruit to this batch, but you can literally add any kind of dried fruit you want. Some of my favourites include goji berries, figs, and apricots. Just make sure to add it after the granola has cooled.

Other (optional) mix-ins: Chocolate chips, however, make sure to add them after the granola has completely cooled; otherwise they’ll melt. Cacao nibs make an excellent chocolate alternative. Coconut, either shredded or flakes. Just make sure to buy unsweetened, as the maple syrup is sweet enough. If you want to toast your coconut flakes, you can add it halfway through baking (see note at the bottom of the page). For any kind of mix-ins, I usually add 1/3 cup.

Clumpy Granola Tips

In my opinion, good granola comes down to how clumpy it is. If you’re like me and live for the clump-age, your oats need to be a little crowded in the pan so they can stick together. Another tip, after stirring the mixture at the halfway point, gently press down on the granola with the back of a spatula to make sure the oats are pressed up against each other before putting it back into the oven. Lastly, let the granola cool completely before breaking it up - this is key!

Ingredients

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup raw nuts, chopped (I used almonds and walnuts)
1/2 cup raw seeds (I used pumpkin seeds)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup applesauce
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup unsweetened dried fruit, chopped
1/3 cup mix-ins (I used coconut chips)

Method

Preheat oven to 300º F.

Combine oats, nuts and/or seeds, mix-in, sea salt and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Stir to blend.

Pour in the applesauce, coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Mix well until every oat and nut/seed is lightly coated.

Pour the granola onto a pan and use a large spoon to spread it in an even layer.

Bake until golden, about 20 minutes, stirring halfway. The granola will further crisp up as it cools.

Let the granola cool completely, undisturbed before breaking it into pieces and stirring in the dried fruit and other mix-ins.

Store the granola in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Notes

  • Make it gluten-free: Be sure to use certified gluten-free oats.

  • Make it nut free: Use seeds instead of nuts.

  • If you want toasted coconut in your granola: Stir the coconut flakes into the granola halfway through baking. They’ll get nice and toasty that way.

Buckwheat Granola

Buckwheat Granola

One of my favourite, on-the-go breakfasts of all time - buckwheat granola!

While many people think that buckwheat is a cereal grain, it's actually a highly nutritious fruit seed that is related to rhubarb - meaning it contains zero amounts of gluten! Perfect for those who have gluten sensitivities.

Buckwheat is one of those foods that not many people know about. A hidden gem that contains phytonutrients that protect against disease by extending the action of Vitamin C.  Buckwheat is also considered a complete protein, containing all eight essential amino acids. On top of that, it's also a great source of fibre, copper, magnesium and manganese.

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