When Spencer gifted me a canister of Banner Road’s Kickstart Granola, I knew my life was going to change. The large crunchy clusters of oats, flavoured with an intense combination of chocolate, coffee and vanilla, then a hint of sea salt to tie it all together—they were crack on steroids.
The traditional recipe will call for rolled oats (not quick-cook), chopped nuts, dried fruits, salt and spices, honey, and a neutral flavoured oil such as Canola. However, I like mine akin to Banner Road’s—in large chunks I might as well call cookies.
For the granola to pass, it has to adhere to a few requirements:
No egg whites.
No increasing the amount of (liquid) sugar used.
No using other binding substitutes such as peanut butter or bananas that you may not want. In other words, stick to the template.
I made this recipe three times trying to get it just right. The first time was a failure since my oven temperature was too high, caramelizing the oats before it was cooked. The second time around was slightly better, since I used oat flour to bind the rolled oats together. I also used an egg replacement using flaxseed meal, but I’m not sure if that actually contributed to it being crunchier. The third time around, I divided the mixture, one with and without an egg substitute. The latter baked faster and was really crunchy, while the former took longer to bake, and was a mix between chewy and crunchy; it reminded me of a granola bar but not what I was after.
Which, led me to believe that firstly, oat flour does help, secondly, using an egg substitute doesn’t yield the same result as using an egg, and lastly, granola, no matter how much you screw it up, still tastes good.
3 cups rolled oats, divided
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 1/2 raw sugar
2 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
2/3 cup raisins
2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Preheat oven to 320°F/160°C.
Make your oat flour by blitzing half of the rolled oats in a food processor until it’s finely grounded and set aside. If your processor isn’t strong enough, a slightly mealy texture will also work. Then, take your rolled oats, and pulse it the food processor for a few seconds just to break it apart.
In a large bowl, toss together your rolled oats, oat flour, raw sugar, cinnamon, and almonds, then set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk your maple syrup, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Add in the coconut oil and mix thoroughly. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, making sure to evenly saturate the oats.
Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, on tightly packed single layer and bake for 40-45 minutes. The layer doesn’t need to be completely flat, just evenly spaced out. Remove from the oven when it looks dry and it’s golden brown. Do not be tempted to touch or move the granola around. Let it cool completely before breaking it into bite-sized pieces. Throw in your raisins and toasted coconut, mix, and store in a large container fitted with a tight lid and share at your own discretion.