I have a deep adoration for granola. I also have little self-control over the stuff. I don’t buy granola often but when I do, I buy the most basic kind that I can find. Why? Because it’s usually vanilla-flavored. I am a complete sucker for vanilla. Plain, maybe. But delicious, yes. Fresh caviar from a vanilla bean, in my opinion, is one of the best fragrances in the world. And if I would have had some on hand when I threw this together, you bet I would have.
I especially love homemade granola. For one reason, it’s much less expensive to make it from scratch. I also love to be able to control the ingredients that I use. I would much rather DIY at home rather than pay for extra processing and preservatives.
And while we are discussing processing, Natalie of Perry’s Plate has been providing some great information on staying whole in a processed world. This practice is important to me, and I have loved reading these posts. I know that Natalie has put a ton of work into them so I encourage you to read these. They are separated by topic and are all very informative; I think you will enjoy them.
Back to the granola…I decided to add a little extra nutrition with wheat bran and flax seed. It is rare that those are found in store-bought granola. I also added coconut. If you know me well, you know that I’m not a fan of coconut but since I made these and enjoyed them with coconut, I though, why not? And I love it here too. The flavor isn’t overwhelming at all and the coconut toasts up in the oven so it adds a little more texture to the granola, which I loved.
This granola is extremely simple, quick, flavorful and I’ll be honest with you: I ate it by the handful until every last piece was gone.
Vanilla-Walnut Granola Recipe
Yield: 4 1/2 cups granola
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Homemade granola full of vanilla flavor, with walnuts, coconut, ground flax,
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (see note below)
2 Tbs. wheat germ (see note below)
1 Tbs. ground golden flax seed (see note below)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon (see note below)
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
6 Tbs. grapeseed oil
2 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
1 Tbs. honey
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or raisins, or other dried fruit)
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly spray a 10x15 baking sheet or line with a silpat liner.
In a large bowl, combine oats, walnuts, brown sugar, coconut, wheat germ, flax seed, cinnamon and salt and stir until blended.
In a small sauce pan over low heat, whisk the grapeseed oil, vanilla and honey until combined and just warm. Slowly add to the oat mixture and stir until all of the dry ingredients are moistened.
Transfer mixture to the prepared baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees in 10-minute increments, stirring between, until browned and fragrant. Your nose will tell you when it's done. It should not take longer than 30 minutes to be finished baking. Stir in the dried cranberries and allow to fully cool.
I prefer Bob's Red Mill coconut flakes, wheat germ, and organic golden flax. They didn't pay me to say that, I just prefer their brand on these kinds of items. They are easy to find, affordable, and I always have good luck with their products.
As for cinnamon, I prefer Saigon cinnamon. It has a higher oil content and its flavor is much stronger. It's a personal preference, so you can use whatever you have on hand.
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