Granola is my ULTIMATE snack. I make batches of this stuff during the weekend, and store it in mason jars for weekday snacking. Sometimes, it doesn’t even last till Monday, as I’ve eaten it on top of anything/poured it directly into my mouth.
The granola recipe I’m sharing today is my whole grail of granola recipes. I’ve finagled back and forth with ingredients, add-ins, etc., but this is the one I’ve found works best for my taste preferences. This recipe contains no refined sugar, but if you want my more caramel-y granola recipe (which uses brown sugar), let me know. That one is also delicious, and the one that I use during the holiday giving season.
My secret ingredient here is the one and only BANANA. It gives the granola sweetness without the cloying nature of sugar, and also provides these crispy, yet squishy granola bites which I shamelessly pick out right when the tray comes out of the oven. I like to use a combination of 2-3 brown bananas (the kind you use for your banana bread), and then 1 yellow banana for texture. Trust me, its worth it…
Granola recipes are highly customizable and very forgiving if you add a little more here or there. The one thing I found that ensures the perfect crispy, yet chewy granola is to make sure the granola has the right ‘consistency’ before it goes into the oven. The dry oat mixture should be lightly coated with liquid (there should be no dry patches), but should not be too wet (no extra liquid). The mixture should still be crumbly when stirring, but if you were to grab it and squeeze it, the mixture should stay together loosely. If you are missing liquid, add a little bit of oil, and if your mixture is too wet, then add some more oats. We don’t need to be too too fancy here…
Some of the below ingredients may seem weird to you. Again, this is just how I love it, so I highly encourage you all to give it a go!
- 3 2/3-4 cup of oats
- 2/3 cup slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1/3 cup wheat germ
- 1/3 cup coconut chips (optional)
- 2 tbsp flax seeds
- 1 tsp (heaping) kosher salt
- 1 tsp (heaping) cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 3-4 bananas, smashed but not pureed (2-3 brown bananas, 1 yellow banana recommended)
- 1/2 cup oil (coconut or vegetable) – may need a little more
- 1/3 cup agave
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
ADD-INS (post baking)
- 1/2 cup dried cherries (any dried fruit will work)
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate (chopped)
- Other substitutions/additions: pistachios, walnuts, goji berries, banana chips, dried apricots (chopped), cocoa nibs
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Spray with cooking oil a half sheet pan and set aside
- Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Make sure to get all of the spices well incorporated into the dry ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, mash your bananas (do not puree them, you want the yellow banana to remain chunky) and then add in the rest of your wet ingredients. Stir until well combined.
- Pour your wet ingredients over your dry ingredients and stir until incorporated evenly. Mixture should be well -coated with the liquid mixture, and should have no excess liquid. The smashed chunks of banana are delicious when they bake up so leave those in!
- Spread the mixture out evenly over your greased pan and bake for 45-60 minutes or until lightly browned. Every 10-15 minutes, open the oven and move around the granola (out to in, in to out) to ensure even cooking. The outside edges of the pan tend to burn first so they need to be rotated them into the center to get an even toast. The granola is done once it starts to toast nicely, become golden brown, and make your kitchen smell amazing. The granola should no longer feels moist and all liquid should have cooked out.
- Remove from heat and let cool for 20 minutes until cool to touch. Finally, sprinkle dried cherries and dark chocolate over the mixture. If you add it in too early, the chocolate will melt all over the granola (not necessarily a bad thing), but I just prefer the chunks.
- Package into mason jars or whatever you have on hand. This recipe usually makes around 3-4 mason jars and is perfect for gifting!
Note: Sometimes when the granola is light brown and close to done, but I want it to get a little more toasted, I’ll turn off the oven, leave the granola pan in there and slightly crack open the oven to let it cook a little further.