I stumbled upon the secret to the best granola many years ago, when I subbed out clarified butter for the coconut oil in the My New Roots Chunky Chocolate Buckwheat Granola recipe. Something about the combination of clarified butter with healthier sugars like coconut sugar and honey, plus the cinnamon, just creates magic! There's a caramelization happening between the toasty clarified butter and the coconut sugar that makes this granola really addictive. It's not low in calories - it's definitely a treat! But it's a really delicious treat with lots of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
In the past I've used coconut sugar, but this time around I used powdered piloncillo. Both work beautifully, and yield very similar results!
So... In the title I promised a formula to the best granola. And as I described above it's all about the fat and the sugar. So I'd say, with whatever nutty and oaty ingredients you want in your granola, use roughly:
800 grams of dry ingredients + 1/3 cup dry healthy sugar + 1/3 cup clarified butter + 1/3 cup healthy liquid sweetener
When adding dried fruit, it's often best to add it in after baking, as there's so much sugar in the fruit that it will likely burn in the bake. You can try adding it in the middle of the bake, when you do your 1 and only stir of the granola.
Browned Butter Caramelized Honey Granola Recipe
3 cups /300g old fashioned oats
1 cup / 100g buckwheat groats (sub 1 cup more oats!)
1 1/2 cup /65g unsweetened coconut shaving or flakes (I like the really big shavings)
1 cup / 125g chopped walnuts or lightly crushed hazelnuts
1/3 cup flax seeds
1/3 cups sunflower seeds and or pumpkin seeds (shelled)
1/3 cup / 35g piloncillo in polvo or coconut sugar
1/2 t fine sea salt
1/3 cup clarified butter or browned butter
1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
1 T vanilla extract
Turn oven to 350'F / 180' C. Prepare a full sized baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat, set aside.
Combine all the dry ingredients in a heat proof blow (not plastic), and mix to incorporate.
Add the wet ingredients to a small sauce pan and warm over low heat until it reaches a liquid consistency (easy to pour).
Pour the liquid (butter, honey, extract) over the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until well combined.
Pour this mixture into the prepared baking sheet and spread evenly across the pan.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and stir the mixture on the tray, paying attention to the edges which have likely taken on more color than the middle of the pan - mix this up so that you don't get any burning. Bake for 15 more minutes. Check for browning and remove if adequately browned. Place the baking sheet some where to cool completely.
For really large chunks of granola (see photo below)
Once the granola has completely cooled, get a second baking sheet and place it face down on top of your granola, then carefully flip the sheets over so that your baking paper is now on top. Peel off the baking paper. Now you can easily break the granola into as large sized chunks as you'd like.
For spoonable granola
Use a metal spatula to break up the granola. Pour it into your idea container.
If it's very humid outside, I like to add a folded piece of paper towel to my storage container, to absorb some of the ambient moisture and retain the granola's crunch. Ideally you would use an air tight container to preserve the freshness. This will stay crispy and good at least 1 week, though it probably wont last that long.
Enjoy over yogurt, ice cream or with milk as a cereal. Or just snack on it by the handful.