Cranberry & Coconut Granola
I’ve always been a girl that loves sprinkles. Get me a vanilla ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles and I was good to go. I spent my high school years working at our local Dairy Queen and we had a giant plastic container full of rainbow sprinkles. It was pretty great, if you like your sugar to come in several artificial colors.
I consider granola to be a more grown up substitute for rainbow sprinkles and while I put it on ice cream (No I’m not kidding. No, it doesn’t make ice cream healthy. Yes, it is very tasty.), I get much more mileage out of my granola than I ever could with my beloved rainbow sprinkles. A pretty firm exception here is sprinkles on top of cookies and cupcakes. Granola is not a good substitute there! A little bit tossed on top of my oatmeal or layered with fruit and yogurt are my favorite, but recently I even put some on top of my mom’s leftover sweet potatoes from Thanksgiving which was also delicious.
Granola is one of those really fun things to make because once you have a general ratio of dry to wet ingredients, it is endlessly customizable. I always load up on the oats to help keep it from getting too out of hand in the calorie department, but if that doesn’t worry you or you are looking for something more indulgent every now and then, replace some oats with more nuts and more coconut. Or take out the coconut and use half nuts and half oats. Ditto with the dried fruit. In this version I used only dried cranberries, but put in whatever you like. Chocolate chips? Why not? Throw them in! Follow the general ratios and switch it up however you think you’ll like it best.
You will be better off in the end if you make your granola a day that you are spending some time in or near your kitchen. Mixing up the dry and wet ingredients takes almost no time at all, but you need to be vigilant while baking it. I burned it countless times because I convinced myself that I could keep track of the time and then of course got distracted by something that was likely not even that exciting. I finally started setting the timer so that every 10-15 minutes I would be reminded to rotate the pans in the oven and give it all a stir. Setting the timer is hardly an earth-shattering concept, but unless you are willing to literally sit in front of your oven and watch the clock to save yourself from distraction, do yourself a favor and just set the timer. Trust me, you’ll be really PO’ed with yourself when you end up burning all of your nuts and coconut.
I use two large rimmed cookie sheets lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. I set the timer and when it goes off, I stir the mixture so it all browns evenly and then rotate the cookie sheets in the oven. Keep resetting the timer for 45 minutes to an hour. If, after about 45 minutes, your granola starts to look a darker shade of brown, then it’s done. It may still look a bit wet and soft, but that’s okay, it will crisp up as it cools. NOTE: Add your dried fruit AFTER the granola has cooked. If you put the fruit in the oven, it may get really hard and tough.
Makes approximately 12 cups of granola
Per 1/4 cup:
Calories: 182 Fat: 7g Sodium: 13.6mg Carbohydrates: 25.5g
Fiber: 4g Sugar: 4.9g Protein: 5.7g
- 8.5 cups old fashioned oats
- 2 cups chopped mixed almonds, pecans, and/or pistachios
- 2.5 cups sweetened flaked coconut
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup cranberry juice (apple juice works well too)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (or light olive oil)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 cups dried cranberries
- 1. In an extra large bowl (or even a pot), mix oats, nuts, coconut, salt, and cinnamon.
- 2. Combine honey, juice, and coconut oil in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
- 3. Pour honey mixture over the oat mixture and stir until well distributed.
- 4. Divide oat mixture between two large rimmed cookie sheets lined with parchment or silicone baking mats.
- 5. Bake at 300 degrees, rotating the pans in the oven and stirring every 15 minutes, for 45 to 60 minutes, or until nicely browned. If, after 15 minutes, you find that the granola around the outside is getting darker than you would like, reduce time to 10 minute increments instead.
- 6. Granola will still appear a bit soft when you take it out of the oven, but it will crisp up as it cools.
- 7. Cool on pans. Add dried cranberries and transfer to a tightly sealed container. Keeps for ages.
- - Use one kind of nuts or any mixture that you like.
- - Feel free to change the ratio of oats:nuts:coconut. Your goal is to end up with 13 cups total, but you can break it down however you like.
- - You can use any kind of dried fruit as well. Just make sure you don't add it until after the granola cools.