Honey Walnut Granola is a delightful blend of honey, oats, walnuts, almonds, pecans, cinnamon, vanilla, coconut and olive oil. I was really craving homemade granola but wanted to make a recipe using honey instead of sugar and so I adapted this recipe from one my mother-in-law introduced me to years ago. It has a mild sweetness to it and a really rustic and hearty flavor. Making granola from scratch is much healthier than the alternative and is a great way to use some of your food storage. It bakes beautifully, and honestly, since I made it, I can’t keep away from it. It’s that good!
Making granola all started with a simple request from my youngest daughter. She had never seen a fresh coconut before and was curious about what it tasted like, so I bought one from Walmart.
I looked up online how to open it and began on our journey. According to what I read, the best way to open a coconut is to first drain the coconut water out of it. You can do this by pounding a screwdriver into the coconut to make three holes (it is easiest to do this at the eyes). After, you turn it upside down and shake/pour the coconut water into a bowl.
Next, soak your coconut in water for a few seconds. Then take the hammer (or the dull side of a cleaver) and bang all around the center of the coconut. This will cause it to slowly crack at the center and then it will open right up. It was SUPER easy!!! I remember as a kids throwing a coconut time and time again on our kitchen floor to no avail. We then “smashed” it open and it broke into several pieces. It was a mess. This method is so much cleaner.
After you’ve opened the coconut, you want to take a paring knife and slowly cut away pieces of the flesh. It popped out quite easy for us. My favorite knives to use are Mac knives. They work amazing at chopping things and sharpen great.
Once you are done removing the flesh, you can eat it raw, or shred it in a food processor for use in baking. It will not be as sweet as normal coconut but is super healthy and works great in many different recipes. One thing we were not anticipating was black mold!!! Ew!!! I tasted the coconut water first, and spit it out because it tasted so nasty. I don’t remember it tasting that bad as a child and so I was confused. As we began to remove the flesh, that’s when we saw it. If you look at the above photo, you can see some of the black mold in the empty coconut shell. SO very disappointed. It coated the back of the coconut flesh. Naively, I cut off the back and still tasted the coconut. Gross! Fortunately, I had a little bit of shredded coconut in my freezer, so I could still proceed with my granola, but I was not happy. I guess that’s why we try to find Joy in the Journey even though it doesn’t always go as planned:) We still made a memory with the kids, just a nasty one. Thankfully no one got sick, so all is well.
I think the secret to good granola is the long baking time at a low temperature. I also think the nuts add tremendously to the heartiness and overall enjoyment of the dish. For this granola, I used some roasted almonds that I had on hand (I had oven roasted them previously). I also had some walnuts and pecan pieces that I put in. I used oats, olive oil, cinnamon, and honey. I measured out all of my dry ingredients and mixed them together in a large stainless steel mixing bowl. I like mixing my granola together with a wooden spoon. I don’t know if it mixes the honey better or if it just reminds me of olden days. Either way, it makes me happy:)
After the dry ingredients are mixed, I add the honey, oil, and vanilla extract. I then stir until evenly coated. I pour the granola into a baking sheet with a lip on the sides (also known as a jelly roll pan). I then bake it at 275 degrees F for 40 minutes. The key to having good granola is to stir it every 10 minutes to continue melting and mixing the hot honey. The last 10 minutes really make all the difference. I then let it cool and eat it alone, with milk, in a Greek yogurt parfait, or as a topping for cold cereal. SO GOOD!!!
So there you have it! Here is the recipe for Honey Walnut Granola.
- 4 c old fashioned oats
- ½ c chopped almonds (roasted almonds are really good)
- 1 c walnuts and or pecans, chopped
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ c olive oil
- ½ honey
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼-1/2 c shredded coconut (optional but really good; it toasts beautifully!)
- ½ c dried fruit (optional - you can use raisins, dried cranberries, dried apples, dates, etc.)
- Pre-heat oven to 275 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine together the oats, nuts, salt, coconut and cinnamon.
- Mix together.
- Pour olive oil, honey, and vanilla.
- Stir until well coated with a wooden spoon.
- Pour out granola mixture into a jelly roll pan.
- Bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
- Remove and allow to cool.