During the week, it's usually somewhat of a race for my husband and I to wake up, take the dog out, get dressed, and get out of the house to make it to work. If you're like me, I wake up HUNGRY, and we all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so - breakfast is something we never, ever skip, even on our most rushed mornings.
One of our absolute favorite quick breakfasts is homemade granola with fruit (usually berries - we can't wait for them to come back in season!) and either soy milk or yogurt. It's super fast to put together, healthy, and filling enough to get us mid-morning snack time (yep, I'm one of those eat six times a day people).
Making granola at home is really easy, and extremely versatile. Once you have a base recipe that you like, you can swap out the "add-ins" - nuts, dried fruit, and spices - as you please. Don't have walnuts hanging around? Use almonds instead! Don't like dried cranberries? Chopped dried apricots make a perfect substitution!
Here is one of my favorite base recipes, from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. It's just right, when it comes to sweetness, and makes big clusters, thanks to the egg whites - and let's be honest, who doesn't enjoy a huge cluster of granola? I've made a few modifications to the original recipe to bump up the flavor a bit, and added another egg white to ensure that I always end up with clusters. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
One last note - don't chop your nuts too small. Yes, you want nuts in most bites, but if you chop them too small, you may end up with burnt nuts before the granola is completely done. And no one wants that!
Maple Granola with Walnuts and CranberriesYield: About 7 cups granola
- 3 cups (240 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup (50 grams) unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
- 1 cup (100 grams) walnuts, coarsely chopped, or nuts of your choice
- 1/4 cup (25 grams) wheat germ
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups (215 grams) dried cranberries, or dried fruit of your choice (diced if large pieces)
- Preheat oven to 300F.
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl (through cinnamon). Stir to combine.
- In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup and olive oil; whisk to combine.
- Pour maple syrup/olive oil mixture over dry ingredients; toss to coat evenly.
- Whisk the egg whites in a small bowl until very frothy (you can reuse the bowl you used to mix the maple syrup and olive oil).
- Stir egg whites into the granola mixture, distributing throughout.
- Spread granola in an even layer on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake on center rack for 45-55 minutes, turning the sheet halfway through baking, until granola is golden brown, and dry to the touch.
- Transfer pan to a cooling rack, and let cool completely before breaking into clusters.
- Add dried fruit, and toss very gently to combine.