The best Granola we've ever purchased is from Plowshare Farm. They sell it on ETSY, and in our farm store. My husband eats so much of it, I decided to try and make it myself. I made a few changes - eliminating seed oils for instance - and it's now "the best granola ever!" according to my husband...
I started out by separating the components in the Plowshare bag, weighing them, and measuring them.
I came up with the following:
- 41 g. walnuts (1/3 cup)
- 39 g. raisins (1/4 cup)
- 26 g. dates (3 T.)
- 35 g. oats plus coconut (about 2 c. I was unable to separate these)
Using several recipes I found online as a guide to the process and baking times, I then made one recipe using those exact proportions, but substituting coconut oil for the sunflower oil. It was good but we thought it could be better.
Using cacao butter gave it a slightly chocolate flavor, and replacing the raisins with currants and unsweetened tart cherries made it healthier.
Several iterations later, this is the version we like the best. It's also the healthiest I've found anywhere!
- 6 cups rolled oats**
- 1.5 c. walnut chips (my sister prefers almonds, use whatever nuts you like)
- 1.5 c. chopped dates (about 9 large medjul dates)*
- 1.4 c. currants
- 1.4 c. tart cherries withOUT added sugar
- 3 t. cinnamon
- 1/2 c. cacao butter
- 1/2 c. maple syrup
- 1/2 c. malt extract*
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Preheat oven to 300.
Slice dates into 1/4" strips and sprinkle with some malt extract (about 1-2 T.). Slice into 1/4" cubes and sprinkle with malt extract to coat each piece (about 1-2 T.). SET ASIDE to 'dry' while you bake the granola. Do not mix with the oats until they're cooked!
|Sliced dates on the left, sprinkled with malt powder, chopped dates on the right.
|Close-up of chopped dates covered with malt powder.
Mix the oats, nuts, and cinnamon in a large bowl. DO NOT ADD THE FRUIT AT THIS TIME!
Mix the maple syrup with the remaining malt powder in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until the malt melts into the syrup. Add the cacao butter and stir until melted.
|Add cacao butter to maple-malt mixture
Pour the maple-malt-cacao-butter over the oat-nut mixture and stir to coat evenly.
|Pour maple-malt-cacao-butter over oat-nut mixture
Spread evenly on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
|Spread evenly in parchment-lined sheet pan
Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until golden. If you don't like big chunks, break them up as you stir. In my oven it took 1 hour, in my sister's oven 30 minutes.
|Baked oat-nut mixture
Add fruit and stir to combine. If you add the fruit before you bake it, the fruit will burn.
*NOTE: If you can find chopped dates covered with coconut or some other powdery substance you won't need to coat them in malt powder. Malt powder is slightly sweet but loaded with nutrients that sugar does not have. You can leave it out, or substitute another sweetener, like brown sugar or Swerve. My sister leaves it out entirely. I suppose...you could try coating the dates in coconut flakes...let me know if it works!
**You can use up to 2 cups coconut instead of some of the oats, but we prefer it with just oats.