Homemade granola is crunchy (in a good way), nutty, gluten-free, & has the perfect amount of sweetness. And you can customize to your liking!
In the Fall, I’ll go out of my way to step on the dried leaves.
I love hearing that satisfying crunch underfoot. And if the leaf doesn’t crunch, I’m disappointed. The worst are those leaves that look perfectly crunchy, only to have them either disintegrate without a sound or kind of mush up.
I also like crunchy foods. Well, let me rephrase that…I like texture contrasts in food, like nuts in brownies or chocolate chips in ice cream.
You know, something I can chew on.
I do like crunchy foods solo, like potato chips, but it has to be the right kind of crunch.
Not so hard that it echoes around in your head like you’re shaking gravel in a can, or not so soft that you might as well be chewing a piece of paper. Or your cereal has gone all soggy in the milk, you know what I mean?
So when I talk about crunchy foods that can hold their texture when mixed into something else, the best example is my crunchy homemade granola I mix into my morning yogurt.
Granola with the right kind of crunch
Granola is one of those “Goldilocks” foods. It can be plywood hard or leather soft, neither of which are what I want in my morning parfait.
No, I want nuggets and texture, something to contrast with the creamy yogurt and soft fruit. Something to chew on.
When I came across the recipe for homemade Granola Bark on the Smitten Kitchen, I knew I had to try it.
After I tinkered a bit, I had a winner. My easy granola recipe has a texture that is perfect crunch of a granola bar that is just ready to crumble into pieces of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and toasted oats.
Even better, this healthy homemade granola recipe is gluten-free, so those folks who avoid gluten can share in granola goodness!
Customizable to fit your taste
Homemade granola is so versatile...just use what's in your pantry. Make changes and alterations as you want (you know how I love to alter recipes!).
The original recipe for granola bark called for coconut, of which I’m not a fan. I left it out and just increased the chopped almonds and seeds by a bit.
I’ve made this recipe once with melted butter and once with canola oil, and the oil actually was better because the other flavors were able to shine a bit more.
Another time I substituted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) for the sesame seeds. I've even substituted ¼ cup of cornmeal for some of the almond meal when I didn't have enough.
Like I said, whatever you have on hand can work.
The egg white is crucial, though not strictly required. That’s what binds the mixture and gives that wonderful crunchy texture. You can even use egg whites from a carton with no yolk to mess with.
Substitute as the whim strikes!
Steps to making granola at home
Making this simple granola recipe takes four easy steps:
Step 1: Make a sweetened syrup and let it cool.
Step 2: Mix up your preferred combination of rolled oats, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds.
Step 3: Whisk your egg white and add it to the cooled syrup. Fold the syrup into the dry ingredients.
Step 4: Press the granola into a half-sheet baking pan firmly. I use the bottom of a saucepan or a metal bowl. Bake until the granola is golden brown.
Try not to overbake the granola if you're using dried fruit as it can turn bitter.
Ok, there's the fifth step of breaking the sheet of granola into pieces, but frankly that's the fun part. I usually nibble a bit, purely for quality control purposes, of course.
Granola is for breakfast...and snacking
I do have to caution you, this crunchy homemade granola recipe is highly addictive!
I can and do eat it out of hand, either as I'm breaking it up or straight from the refrigerator. It’s hard to stop, it’s that good!
Consider yourself warned…
I suggest you make a batch of this easy, gluten-free granola right now. Make it your way, to your liking.
Breakfast will never be the same!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
There are many ways to enjoy a treat if you're on a special diet. Here are a few ideas that are all gluten-free, and I have many more. Have a go!
Gluten-Free Crunchy Homemade Granola
- ½ cup maple syrup, honey, or golden syrup
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract, see Recipe Notes
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 3 cups rolled oats, not quick-cooking
- 1¼ cups almonds, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup dried fruit, see Recipe Notes
- ½ cup chia seeds, or flax seeds, whole or ground
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- ½ cup almond flour
- ⅓ cup canola oil, olive oil, coconut oil, or melted butter
- 1 large egg white, at room temperature, optional
- Combine the maple syrup, light brown sugar, water, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Remove the saucepan from heat and let the mixture cool to lukewarm.
- Meanwhile combine the oats, chopped almonds, dried fruit, chia seeds, sesame seeds, and almond flour in a large bowl.
- If you're using the egg white, whisk it in a small bowl until it's frothy. If you leave out the egg white, the granola won't be as crunchy and won't hold together as well.
- Once the maple syrup mixture has cooled, whisk in the oil or melted butter, then the egg white. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Spread the mixture evenly across the prepared baking sheet. Press down firmly to compact it before baking using another the bottom of a pot.
- Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until dark golden brown, rotating the baking pan every 15 minutes to promote even browning.
- Set the baking pan on a cooling rack until surface of the granola is crisp. Leave the oven on while the granola cools.
- If the granola's surface is still tacky to the touch once cooled, return the baking pan to the oven and continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes. Don’t let the granola get too dark or it will taste bitter.
- Once the granola is totally cool, break it into pieces (and try to resist eating it all at once).