When it comes to breakfast, I'm a creature of habit. Well, for a short period of time, anyway. I go through periods in which I would eat the same thing every single morning for 3 to 4 months: oatmeal with dried cranberries, toast with raspberry preserves, almond croissants, Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds, Barbara's Puffins. And then move on to the next thing for 3 to 4 months.
My most recent breakfast habit has consisted of combining vanilla yogurt with granola from the Park Slope Co-op. I've tried a lot of their granolas from the bulk bins, mostly settling a very minimalist one with lightly crispy oat clusters and dried blueberries. But then I started seeing a whole bunch of homemade granola recipes on Pinterest. (My fellow food bloggers are very inspiring!) So I decided to try my hand at making granola from scratch.
I decided to make a coconut-flavored granola using a combo of coconut oil and honey to coat the old-fashioned rolled oats. Coconut oil, the pure, unrefined kind, is fantastic to bake with. "Virgin coconut oil has a haunting, nutty, vanilla flavor," wrote Melissa Clark in a Times article from 2011. "It’s even milder and richer tasting than butter, sweeter and lighter textured than lard, and without any of the bitterness you sometimes get in olive oil." I'm planning to do a lot more baking with coconut oil in the future, but for now let's concentrate on the granola.
For this granola, I added some coconut chips to get a double dose of coconut goodness. Almond slices, sunflower seeds and dried blueberries went in for extra texture and salty/sweet flavor, but of course you can substitute your choice of seeds and dried fruit.
Homemade granola was so easy I'm kind of hitting myself for not trying it earlier. You basically mix everything in a big bowl and bake it in the oven for 40 minutes, stirring the mixture occasionally. For this coconut granola recipe, the only thing to remember is that you need to continuously break it up as it cools so it forms smaller bite-sized clusters instead of big ones.
I put most of the granola in a gallon-sized freezer bag and took along to workcation week at a lake house in the Hudson Valley. (Work, swim, swing in the hammock, repeat as necessary.) Working becomes much easier when you're munching on aromatic coconut granola and have this view is right outside the window:
Homemade Coconut Granola
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup coconut chips
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup dried blueberries, or substitute your dried fruit of choice
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine the rolled oats, coconut chips, almonds, and dried blueberries. Add the melted coconut oil, honey, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and stir, making sure everything is well-coated and well-mixed.
- On a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spread the granola out to an even, thin layer. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring around the 15 and 30 minute marks with a fork to make sure everything bakes evenly.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven. As the granola cools on the baking sheet, it will begin to clump into clusters. Use a fork to break up the larger pieces, leaving the smaller clusters to cool. Allow the granola to completely cool before transferring to an airtight storage container.
More granola recipes to try: