Crunchy Cherry Coconut Granola is a perfect portable snack for the whole family. It travels well and provides plenty of energy to get past a morning or afternoon slump. Granola can also be eaten for breakfast with milk or yogurt. It is even really good crumbled on top of a small bowl of ice cream.
Our recipe for granola produces large and crunchy clusters. Some people use flour as a binding agent, others use egg whites, but this one uses neither. We use the addition of crispy rice cereal for our binding agent.
Crispy rice gives the honey and brown sugar something to grab ahold of. I find that using a 1:2 ratio of crispy rice cereal to rolled oats works the best. Too little cereal and you still have a lot of oats rolling around by themselves at the end of cooking.
Too much cereal and you have a mixture that takes a really long time to cook in the center. It still tastes amazing, it just is not as crunchy as we like our granola. If you like to eat your granola as cereal with milk, I would definitely recommend you keep your cereal to oats ratio at 1:2 if you like to have some crunch left after the milk is added.
We use coconut oil in this recipe. It isn’t for the health properties, although if there are any that is just an added bonus, we use it because it is a light tasting oil that leaves no greasy residue in the pan or on our hands.
Any light tasting oil can be substituted. Any dried fruit and any nut can be used as a substitution for the cherries and walnuts in this recipe. We have used dried cranberries, dried blueberries, and even dried pineapple. I suspect any dried fruit would be delicious. Cherry, coconut, and walnuts just happens to be the one I make the most.
The coconut we use is a raw large flake coconut. Sometime I can’t find the raw ones so I use the unsweetened toasted ones. I have not tried this recipe with sweetened fine flakes like you would use for most recipes. If that is all you have, I would probably save it until the last 15 minutes of baking to prevent burning.
Preheat oven to 300 degree F.
Spray large baking sheet with sides with baking spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl mix together oats, cereal, walnuts, coconut, and brown sugar.
Sprinkle cinnamon over oat mixture. Mix well again.
In a small bowl, combine coconut oil and honey. Stir until well blended.
Pour oil and honey over oat mixture. Mix until all dry ingredients are evenly coated with oil and honey. You may have to use your hands for this.
Place granola mix onto prepared baking sheet.
Press mixture into an even layer.
Place in oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until granola is toasted to your preferred level, stirring at least once during cooking.
After stirring, press granola back into an even level.
Once granola has reached desired doneness, remove from oven and allow to cool without stirring for large clumps. While granola is still warm, sprinkle dried cherries over granola.
If smaller clumps are preferred, stir frequently while cooking and cooling.
Once cooled, break granola into clumps.
Store in an airtight container.
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