Well, at least I think it’s the best granola recipe. For proof, there’s the fact that I. Can’t. Stop. Eating. It. In a bowl with milk for breakfast, by the handful as a snack—I’m rather stuck on this stuff.
I’ve been experimenting for weeks with different recipes I’ve found online, and nothing has been quite what I wanted. I’ve tried different sweeteners: honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, agave nectar. I’ve added applesauce and canned pumpkin; I’ve used a bit of oil, and not. I’ve tried different spices, different combinations of fruit, different nuts. But I haven’t hit on what I consider to be the perfect granola … until recently.
This granola recipe is a loose combination of one given to my by my friend Ilise Benun and one I found on the Epicurious iPad app. I’ve tested this granola recipe a couple of times, and it’s exactly what I was looking for: crunchy, not too sweet, packed with fruit and healthy nuts. It’s also flexible: You could mix in your own fruit and nut combinations to suit your taste. Two things, I think, make this successful: the egg white makes for a crunchy granola, and the agave nectar gives a balanced sweetness.
perfect homemade granola recipe
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup pistachios or pepitas (see Note)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg white whisked with 1 Tbsp. water
1 cup dried fruit of your choice (see Note)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet (I use a half sheet pan) with parchment for easier cleanup. In a large bowl, mix together oats, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, nuts/pepitas, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg white and water; add agave and vanilla and whisk until mixture is blended and slightly frothy. Pour agave mixture over oat mixture and, using a large rubber spatula, fold ingredients together until the dry ingredients are well-coated. Spread granola on baking sheet; if you want some clumps, squeeze some of the mixture together with your hands. Bake for 15 minutes. Using a spatula, turn the granola gently, moving the mixture from the outer edges of the pan toward the middle and vice versa. Bake 8 to 10 minutes more until lightly browned. Reduce oven temperature to 250; return pan to oven and bake another 15–20 minutes until the granola is toasty brown and mostly dried. Remove pan from oven and let cool. Carefully break up into chunks and gently fold in dried fruit. Store in a plastic bag or container.
Note: Any combination of dried fruit will work; I prefer some combination of raisins, cherries and cranberries. If you can find it, choose unsweetened dried fruit that doesn't contain sulfur or sulfites as a preservative. Play with fruit/nut combinations: apples, raisins and pecans; cherries, blueberries and almonds (maybe add a skosh of almond extract), cranberries and pistachios. If you love one kind of nuts, use 1 cup plus the 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds. Use dry-roasted, unsalted nuts.