Though I am a pancake fan, my true breakfast love is cereal. I could eat cereal for several of my six small meals a day and be totally content. But I’d have to be in America, because Germany doesn’t have any of my favorites.
Sure, we have cereal here, but it’s of the Frosted Flakes variety (eh). Germans usually go for muesli, and most stores stock something called Knusper (crispy) Muesli which Americans know as granola.
Mmmmmm, granola! The best granola in all the world (according to yours truly) is Cascadian Farm Organic Oats & Honey. It’s crunchy with the right amount of sweetness, neither overpowering nor bland. I couldn’t possibly hope to replicate it, though it’s not for lack of trying.
I’ve made at least a half a dozen granola recipes (even this one in the crockpot!), but none of them came out crunchy. They all either started out soggy or ended up there within a few days. No good. In my book, granola MUST have a good, tooth-endangering bite to it.
I’m stoked to report that the following recipe provides all the crunch you could want… and without any oil! Now, how’s that for helping you pick up where you left off on those New Year’s resolutions?
Though this recipe is titled Crunchy Brown Sugar Walnut Granola, please give yourself permission to break the rules. I would much prefer my granola to have pecans, but they’re scarce around these parts. Don’t like nutmeg or can’t stomach wheat germ? Leave it out. Have a hankering for coconut, raisins, pumpkin seeds, or all three? Toss ’em in!
The main thing to remember is that the more liquid you have, the more clumps you’ll end up with. So if you go crazy adding extra ingredients, you might need to increase the liquid or decide you can live with less chunks.
Crunchy Brown Sugar Walnut Granola
5 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 Tbl ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup raw or brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Preheat oven to 275F. Whisk together oats, walnuts, flax, oat bran, wheat germ, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Combine water and brown sugar, microwaving at 30 second – 1 minute intervals and stirring until dissolved. Add maple syrup, vanilla, and salt to the sugar syrup. Pour liquid mixture over dry ingredients. Stir to combine, making sure to coat the oat mixture as thoroughly as possible. Pour onto a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Using a spatula, press granola down until flat. Bake for 45 – 60 minutes, flipping carefully every 15 minutes. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container or zip top bag. Granola should keep for one week at room temperature.