December 15, 2010 by Flora Dawn
I know people always say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet we rarely eat like it. The stores are packed with boxed, sugar laden cereals, bars, and even breakfast cookies (I think these are just oatmeal cookies with a new marketing strategy).
Especially since going gluten free, I have been rethinking the whole breakfast thing and consciously making an effort to eat a healthful breakfast. One of the healthiest and heartiest things that comes to mind is granola. It’s great with milk, as a yogurt topping, or by the handful for an easy snack.
Over the years granola has become quite popular, and there are even some super-expensive gluten free options on the store shelves these days. But why not just make some?
It’s really quite easy and you can customize it to suit your taste or mood. Packed with fruits, nuts, grains, and seeds it’s delicious and nutritious. It is super easy to adapt the recipe, if you can’t have nuts you could use seeds or more fruit. Of if you don’t eat oats, try quinoa flakes; although they are typically bitter, when toasted in the oven they have a much different, and tastier flavor. It’s a really fun recipe to make with the kids, and every batch can be a whole new version of granola.
I know a lot of recipes for granola get rather complicated, with the ingredients needed stirred into the granola at 15 minute intervals, or something like that so the nuts and coconut don’t burn. I really think it is easier, and more enjoyable, to just mix it up and bake it at a lower temperature, adding the dried fruit after it cools.
To make it festive for Christmas, I chose plenty of red dried fruits (cherries, cranberries, and goji berries). My version isn’t overly sweet, and I really prefer to use the large, unsweetened coconut flakes (like these). I think homemade granola makes a great gift; just place it in a pretty jar or cellophane bag wrapped with a bow. It can be stored in an airtight container for a month, so it’s a great make ahead idea.
You won’t want to stray too far from the kitchen while this is baking; you want it browned, but not burned.
- 1/2 cup canola oil (although I am thinking coconut oil might be amazing)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 c brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 4 cups gluten free oats or quinoa flakes (or a combination)
- 2 cups chopped nuts or seeds (or a combination)
- 1/2 cup flax meal
- 2 cups unsweetened, large coconut flakes
- 2 cups dried fruit, chopped if necessary
- Position one oven rack in the center of oven and another in the lowest position. Preheat oven to 300. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment, foil, or silicone mats.
- In a large bowl combine oats, nuts, flax, and coconut.
- In a heat-proof bowl, combine oil, honey, sugar vanilla, cinnamon, and boiling water. Stir until combined. Pour over the oatmeal mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until well coated.
- Divide mixture between prepared baking sheets and spread to distribute evenly. Bake for 15 minutes; stir and rotate sheets in oven. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until lightly browned. The granola will not be crunchy, it will get dry out and crisp up as it cools. Allow to cool on sheets and then stir in dried fruit.