This chunky, maple & honey sweetened granola was a revelation to me when it was originally posted in January of 2013, not only because it tastes amazing, but also because it uses less sweetener than most granola recipes AND it bakes in only 24 minutes. It remains a staple at our house – I make it every two weeks and it’s my go-to breakfast with toppings of walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, dried cranberries and frozen berries (perfection!). I’ve updated it with new photos and printable recipe (with a quicker baking option) for you because you MUST try this recipe!
I’m so excited to share a new discovery with you – a recipe for granola that’s quick, naturally sweetened, and makes huge clumps perfect for snacking as well as for cereal!
You know those large clumps in granola that are a bit hard to create in many homemade recipes? I don’t know if you’re a fan of those like our family is, but this cereal is full of the bark-like clusters which are actually easy to form using this different cooking technique than other granola recipes I’ve tried.
And let me warn you, it’s dangerous. I lost track of the times I walked by and grabbed a clump “just to test” while it was cooling. Man, this stuff is good, and that’s saying something because I seriously love the granola I’ve made for years (one of my first posts here, way back when). In fact, I think I’ve mentioned I even get a bit grumpy when I can’t have my morning granola with walnuts and cranberries. I also add chia seeds, hemp seeds, and frozen berries (blue, blackberries, or raspberries – whatever I have in the freezer) – this stuff is so easy to add things to that make it even healthier!
But having clumps and tasting great are not it’s only attributes, oh no. It also:
- is easier to make than most other granola recipes
- uses less sweetener than other recipes
This is seriously good stuff, right?
Where recipes with sugar require cooking the liquid ingredients in a pot first, in this recipe, you just mix them in in a bowl and then add the dry ingredients, mixing everything together in the same bowl (= less to clean!).
And then – get this – you press the granola out on a cookie sheet (lined with silicone or parchment) and cook it without stirring (if you’ve made granola, you know this is aaaamazing – most have to be stirred multiple times while baking).
Huh…wha? It’s unlike any other recipe I’ve seen for making granola. Leave it to Cook’s Illustrated to come up with this unique technique that works perfectly (here’s their recipe that I’ve adapted).
Pressing the oat mixture into the cookie sheet and not touching it again until after it’s cooled is how the same sweetener-oil-oats concoction of every granola recipe becomes a granola with bark-like clusters.
It’s crispy, chunky, chewy, and delicious – but that’s still not the only reason to try this granola, because like I mentioned, it uses even less sugar than my original granola (just 2/3 c. total to 5c. oats + 2 c. add-ins). It just gets better and better, doesn’t it?
One note about the nuts called for in the recipe: I’ve found that the nuts are almost essential to the flavor of this granola. Both chopped almonds and walnuts are good and though you could leave them out if you have an allergy, they really do make the granola. Once the nuts have been toasted with the oats they are SO good- and are probably one of the reasons I want to keep taking taste tests whenever I make it, ha!
Healthy, Quick Maple Honey Granola with Bark-Like Clusters
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup*
- 1/3 cup honey*
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup oil melted coconut oil, cold-pressed sunflower oil, or avocado oil
- 5 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup chopped almonds or walnuts
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds sesame seeds are good, too
- 1/2 cup flax meal or 1/4 cup flax + 1/4 cup hemp seeds
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt omit if using salted sunflower seeds
- optional: 1 to 2 cups dried fruit mixed in after cooling we usually add our fruit to each bowl when eating
- Heat oven to 350 degrees** and line a large rimmed baking sheet with silicone or parchment.
- Mix the syrup, honey, vanilla, and oil together in a large bowl, and then add the remaining ingredients (except for the optional fruit), stirring until the oats are completely coated.
- Press the oat mixture evenly onto the prepared baking sheet, using the back of the spoon, a spatula, or your hand wetted with water.
- Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, for about 24 minutes and do not stir. It will be golden brown all over and more on the edges.
- Remove to a cooling rack for 1 hour before breaking the granola into chunks and letting cool completely.
- Add any optional fruit and store in an airtight container.
**I now bake this at a higher temperature for less time than when I first published this recipe. It's quicker and browns better. The original baking directions were to cook for 35 minutes at 325 degrees. Nutrition Facts were calculated without optional dried fruit.
Once you make this granola, you can use it in these recipes (if you don’t eat it all first!):
Chocolate Chip Granola Bites (and lots of variations!)