Ok, you can’t see the granola for the berries in this shot, but it’s under there. While berries are in season I can’t get enough of them so breakfast is equal portions of cereal and fruit.
As much as I love experimenting with new flavors, combinations, and techniques, I’m consistent to the point of boring about breakfast. In winter it’s steel cut oats with maple and pecans, in diners it’s scrambled eggs with cheddar and a side of crisp bacon. Now I have a summer staple: homemade almond granola with fresh berries. Plus a tall glass of cold brewed iced coffee.
At some point the recipe will change a bit: I may use only maple syrup and add ½ c pecans and tiny dried currants. Or switch from almond (or cashew) butter to a freshly ground peanut butter and add tiny chunks of good dark chocolate for granola that nearly stands in as a dessert and will chase off winter blues.
The basic recipe yields a satisfying granola that is easy to make, slightly sweet and filling. Since I started working on this recipe I happily eat it most mornings, topped with a half cup of fresh berries. Sadly strawberries season has ended, but this coincides with the ripening of wild black (or black-capped )raspberries, with some of the bright red raspberries are ripening as well. Blueberries and wild blackberries are already starting, and if you can find local peaches – at this point I can talk myself out of the cereal altogether and just eat a bowl of fresh fruit. However – the protein, insoluble fiber and a little fat in each meal ensures that I feel full and energized through the day. I won’t skip the balance in breakfast.
All granolas (like muesli) have similar foundations but as you can see from the range of offerings in the boxed cereal aisle and the bulk granola bins – you can dress it up anyway you please. Though both cereal blends originated as healthy high-fiber breakfast there are core differences between granola and muesli. Muesli is a Swiss invention, prepared without oils or sweeteners, and generally the ingredients are simply stirred together, without oven toasting., served with honey, fresh fruit and /or yogurt Granola is an American creation, always sweetened with some added fat, both of which enhance the caramelization when the batch is baked to the golden crispness we know. You will often find it has added nuts and dried fruit.
The recipe I offer is not the lowest in fat or calories when compared to the claims of many packaged brands. But making my own gives me control over the size batch, every ingredient and flavor, determining how much sweetener and how much fat and protein I add and is definitely economical. Remember that when you add dried fruit or other nuts you are increasing the sugars and fats – and ultimately the calorie count for your recipe.
Even with a half-cup of yogurt and a half-cup of fresh berries, this recipe comes in at about 375 calories per serving.
Easy homemade gluten free granola
Serving size ½ c. Makes about 10 servings.
3 c gluten free rolled oats
1 c (or more) sliced almonds
½ unsweetened large flake coconut
¼ c ground flax seed
1 t cinnamon
1/8 t sea salt
2t walnut oil (or mild/unflavored oil)
1T light olive oil or clarified butter
¼ c honey
1T to 1/4c maple syrup *
2T – 4T almond or cashew or peanut butter
Optional: raisins, cranraisins, dried cherries, banana chips or other dried fruit
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, stir to mix well. In a saucepan warm oils, honey & maple and then stir in the nut butter, stirring until smooth. Pour over dry ingredients and stir well to coat the grains. This is a drier version of granola so you need to blend very well in order to season and sweeten the whole batch.
On a cookie sheet with sides lined with parchment, waxed paper or silicon matt, evenly spread the mixture. Place in an oven set to 320 for 10 minutes. Stir at ten minutes. Move cereal at the edges into the mix. The edges tend to brown first. Bake another 10 minutes until just beginning to turn a little golden. Allow cooling full then storing in an airtight jar in fringe or freezer.
½ c serving has 246 calories. (1/3 c serving has 164 calories) Breakdown for ½ c serving:
- 13 g fat
- 4.6 g fiber
- 10.6 g sugar
- 6.1 g protein
- High in iron, Vit E, Manganese and Magnesium
*I wanted to keep the sweet as minimal as possible. Most people would find that 1T of maple is not enough sweetening and the salt tends to stand out. You can drizzle some honey or maple into your bowl each morning – or test batches adding little more sweetener each time to get your perfect recipe
~ If you like more chunks or larger chunks in your granola, stir extra nut butter into the warm honey and oil, working until smooth then stir into the dry until very well incorporated. More sticky liquid helps hold together the loose grains.