When my children were small, I got in the habit of making granola for them, a big container always graced a prime spot in the larder. With oats and raisins from the bulk section of the health food store, this was a simple and inexpensive cereal to make while on a really tight budget. We could spice it up with whatever we loved or had on hand, and enjoy it in many ways. It remains a standard in my kitchen, and a lovely dish to make for a brunch potluck!
My grandkids love it as much as their parents did! Our family name for this is Leola Granola after my second granddaughter’s nick-name (who was named after me!).
I’ve made a hundred different versions over the years, swapped out a variety of ingredients, and lessened the fat and sugar. No nuts in my granola now since there are several nut allergies in my family, but even without, this is a delicious recipe, and it is really quick to make. If there are no nut problems in your household, add a cup of walnuts or other favorites by all means!
Tailored to your own preferences
Here, I’ve used a gluten-free old-fashioned oat, available at the health food store, but you can use any preferred variety. Make this your way. If you don’t like raisins, use just the cranberries. Or, you can add dried cherries, apples, or goji berries, or dehydrated fruits such as raspberries. The kids love chocolate chips added, of course! Fiddle with the proportion as well, make it yours. I doubt I make it exactly the same every time. There are no hard and fast rules in regard to the dried fruit except choose nice plump fruit and add them after the rest of the granola is baked or they will probably burn.
Quick, easy, and delicious
One bowl, one pan, not a lot of time. Don’t turn your back on toasting the coconut, and for the granola itself, use a timer, and keep checking. Problems can crop up quickly if you get distracted elsewhere! Put on some lovely music, sing or hum to yourself, and enjoy the wonderful smells of spice in your home!
Eat this by itself as a cereal, or top plant or dairy yoghurt with it at breakfast. It is also delicious as a garnish for ice cream desserts, a fruit cup, or packed as a snack in a lunch bag.
Maple and Spice Granola (alias Leola Granola)
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup dark maple syrup
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 1 tsp. natural maple extract
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 cups old-fashioned oats
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- Fresh nutmeg, about a quarter teaspoon
- *½ cup unsweetened coconut, toasted
- ¼ cup minced crystallized ginger (optional)
- 1 cup raisins or dried cranberries, or mix of both
- 1 cup sliced dried apricots
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.
In a large bowl, mix together the oil, maple syrup, molasses, and extracts, and mix well. Tip: measure out the oil first, then use the same measure for the syrup and molasses, it will slip right out! Add the oats, salt, and spices, and toss until combined. Place in an even layer on the oiled cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, turn it all over, breaking it up, but not completely if you want chunky nuggets in the final product. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes more, and check. At this point, your house will smell like a spice boat just landed, and you will want to sample the whole thing, but it is not quite ready and you might burn your tongue so restrain yourself. Flip again, and put back in the oven and start checking after just a couple of minutes. You don’t want it to brown too much on the edges, but you do want a little browning, so watch it like a hawk.
Let it all cool on the sheet, and break up gently into the about the size clumps you want, if any. Once completely cool, put it back in the bowl.
In a large, dry skillet, toast coconut for a few minutes until their flavor is released into the air. The coconut will start to brown around the edges. Remove from the pan, and place in the bowl with the baked oat mixture.
Mince the ginger. Add it to the bowl along with coconut, raisins and all the dried dried fruits you like (total about 2 ¼ cups including ginger). Mix well!
Store this in an air-tight container. It will keep for a long time, but it will probably be eaten before it goes stale!
*If your coconut is large flakes, you can add it to the oats and bake it. Mine is a finer shred and it burns too easily to bake this long.
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