The Secret To Crunchy Clusters of Homemade Granola

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Home made granola My first two attempts at making homemade granola were not a total disaster, but close to it.  What I wanted was nice clusters of granola that could rival those found in the bulk bins at Whole Foods.  You know, the ones that cost more than $6/pound.  They look so good but every time I walk on by thinking that I could probably do better by making it at home myself.

Well that certainly was not the case a few months ago when I tried making my own homemade granola.  I thought the honey call for in the recipe would be enough to clump some of my clusters together but it wasn't.  What I ended up with was basically toasted oatmeal flakes with some other stuff mixed in.  And after the whole concoction cool off, it wasn't even crispy.  Oh well.

Fast forward to today when I went one of my new favorite food sites.  A recipe for granola!  As I read through the list of ingredients, one caught my eye and I thought "could that be the secret I need to my homemade granola to cluster?"  Turn out it was.  The secret ingredient is egg whites!  Who would have thought?

The thing I love about granola is that you can pretty much do whatever you want to it and add so many different ingredients, extracts, nuts, grains and seeds to make it totally your own.

Here are a few homemade granola mix in ideas:

Dried Fruits:

Pineapple Strawberries Blueberries
Cranberries Raisins Mango

Nuts:

Cashews Walnuts Pecans
Macadamias Almonds Hazelnuts

Seeds and Grains:

Sesame Seeds Millet Pumpkin Seeds
Flax seed or Meal Poppy Seeds Quinoa
     

As you can see that's just the tip of the iceberg.  Taking a walk through your bulk aisles at the grocery store will inspire you to come up with your own unique flavor combination.  Here is the recipe for home made granola.

Ingredients:

4 cups rolled oats

1 1/2 cup unsweetned coconut

1 cup flax meal

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup egg whites

1/2 tsp almond extract

1/2 cup craisins

1/2 cup dates

Directions:

Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl to distribute the sugar and spices evenly.  Add the coconut oil, egg whites and extract and blend.  Put the mixture on two sheet pans (I used three smaller sheet pans) and bake for 20 minutes at 350°F

Take the granola out of the oven and carefully flip section by section so it can brown evenly.  My granola stuck together a good bit at this point but don't worry about breaking it up into smaller pieces until it has finished cooking and cooled completely.

Put the granola back in the oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes.  Let the granola cool completely before storing.  I put mine in spaghetti sauce jars. Try not to eat it all in one day.Smile

*If you take a look at the original recipe you can see I changed a few of ingredients so I could use what I have on hand and it turned out great.  I can't thank Sara Kate enough for sharing this recipe and getting me out of my granola rut.