Before I start my chocolate posts for February, I had several requests to share my favorite granola recipe. I discovered the base of this recipe many years ago but unfortunately did not note the source, and have made it regularly for years. Since going gluten-free, I’ve changed it by using certified gluten-free oats, and I’ve made some tweaks from the original recipe like adding more flavor by using more cinnamon and decreasing the brown sugar a bit. Now it is just perfect and everyone in my family loves it! For you gluten-eating friends that have arrived here for this recipe, you can just use your plain old Quaker Old Fashioned or Rolled Oats in this recipe. My gluten-free friends can read below for some more information about gluten-free oats.
Just in case there is anyone reading this that doesn’t know about oats and gluten, I thought I should include that info. Oats are inherently gluten-free; however they are typically grown, harvested, transported, processed, and/or packaged on equipment along with wheat, so there is a high amount of cross-contamination. So if you are a celiac or are gluten-intolerant, you will want to buy only certified gluten-free oats. You can see the oats I recommend on my Recommendations page. Also, if you are newly diagnosed with celiac, you’ll want to avoid oats completely for a while as they can be hard for your damaged body to digest. When you do begin eating oats, you may want to consume small amounts so as not to aggravate your system.
Those of you that are dairy-free will love that you can easily make this dairy-free by using your favorite oil. I’ve made it both ways, with real butter or with vegetable or corn oil, and there isn’t much difference in how it turns out. Unlike many celiacs, my body actually tolerates butter better than I do oil. Try it either way, and I’m confident you’ll love it!
I love how you can customize this granola by adding in whatever you prefer as it is cooling: dried blueberries, craisins or raisins, dried banana chips, or dried chunks of apples. My favorite is adding in dried blueberries, then when I’m eating a bowl of this yummy granola with milk, I also slice in a fresh banana. Mmmm You could even toss in some mini chocolate chips once this cools completely if you’d like!
As the granola cools, you get to decide how big of chunks you want it to have. Let it cool untouched and then break apart in bigger pieces to put in bags to munch on for a snack. If you’d like to enjoy it as a breakfast cereal, you might break it up into smaller chunks as it cools. If you want the granola to be very small pieces for adding to yogurt, I’d recommend you stir every few minutes after you take it out of the oven, so that it won’t harden into large chunks.
If you don’t know what a jelly roll pan is, it is a large baking sheet with about 1″ sides. Usually it is around 10 1/2″-12″ wide and 16″-18″ long. If you don’t have one of these pans, feel free to use two 9×13 pans instead. The parchment paper called for in the recipe will really make clean-up a breeze, which is why I recommend it. You can refer back to my post about parchment paper. I use the pre-cut sheets that fit perfectly in my jelly roll pan.
Give this a try and let me know how you decided to customize it for your tastes!
- 4 cups gluten-free oats (rolled or old-fashioned, not instant)
- 1 cup sliced or slivered almonds
- ⅓ cup brown sugar, packed
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ⅓ cup melted unsalted butter or vegetable oil or oil of choice
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 300°.
- Line a jelly roll pan (about 10.5″x15.5″) with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, use a spatula to stir together oats, almonds, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter or oil, honey and sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat stirring constantly with a whisk to get the sugar to dissolve and the mixture to come together. Once it comes together and simmers about 30 seconds, remove from heat. Whisk in the pure vanilla extract.
- Pour the hot liquid mixture over the oat mixture in the bowl. Stir well with a large spatula or wooden spoon. Spread granola on prepared jelly roll pan. Bake at 300° until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Once or twice during the baking time, pull out and stir well and put back in for the remainder of the baking.
- Transfer pan to a rack; If you want to add in dried fruit, add it now. Cool granola completely. If you want smaller chunks, stir several times while it cools so that it doesn’t harden into large chunks. If you want to add in mini chocolate chips, add them now after it has cooled completely.
- When cooled, use your hands to break apart to the size you want and store in an airtight container.