Homemade granola is delicious, easy, and a great way to experiment with your favorite flavors.
The satisfying, sweet, and savory crunch of granola adds a lovely element of texture and flavor to a great acai bowl. While there are many awesome store-bought options to choose from, making granola at home isn’t as hard as it may seem – and the possibilities are almost endless when it comes to playing around with different flavors and combinations. Check out these tips for making great granola at home and start experimenting today to top your next acai bowl with your own unique kitchen creation.
- Assemble Your Tools
Making granola at home doesn’t require a lot of fancy kitchen equipment, but you will need a few basic things. Depending on the size of your oven, you can bake one large batch of granola at a time, or divide your ingredients into two separate batches. You’ll need one or two half-sheet pans or baking sheets and parchment paper to line each one. The parchment paper is essential for ensuring the granola doesn’t stick to the bottom of your baking sheet and it also happens to make clean up a little easier! You’ll also need a large bowl for mixing together your ingredients, measuring cups appropriate to measuring out dry and wet ingredients, and measuring spoons for mixing in spices and extracts.
2. Choose Your Grains
Homemade granola traditionally starts with a base of old-fashioned rolled oats – the quick-cooking oats won’t work for homemade granola and will yield an undesirable texture. While oats are the base of many granola recipes, you can also experiment with lots of alternative grains when making granola at home! Try a mixture of oats and any combination of grains like quinoa, puffed or rolled barley, kamut, puffed brown rice, millet, or amaranth. Most recipes call for around 3 – 4 cups of grains, but you can mix or match the types of grains you use to taste – try different ratios for your homemade batches until you find one that you love.
3. Go Nuts – And Seeds!
Adding your favorite nuts and seeds is what gives granola that addicting crunch that perfectly compliments the smooth, refreshing texture of an acai bowl. You’ll commonly find almonds and pumpkin seeds – or pepitas – in store bought granolas, but you can add just about any nut or seed you like. Try halved cashews, chopped walnuts, pistachios, pecans, or even hazelnuts. The important thing is to select raw nuts and seeds if you want to mix and bake them with the grains in your batch of granola – if you select nuts that have already been roasted, you’ll want to set those aside and mix them in after you’ve baked your grain to avoid burning them!
4. Sweet & Savory
Typically for every six cups of dry ingredients, you’ll need to mix in between 1/2 and 3/4 cups of wet ingredients in your granola – these ratios can vary depending on the types of grains and nuts you’re using, the wet ingredients you pick, and how clustery you prefer your granola. Your wet ingredients will usually consist of an oil, a sweetener, and an extract – but you can experiment will all of these things according to your own taste. Most recipes call for around 1/2 a cup of olive oil and 1/4 a cup of honey, but you can also experiment with different oils including coconut or walnut oil – and the same can be said for sweeteners – if you prefer agave or maple syrup, you can substitute it for honey. Just remember, ratios will vary depending on the type of ingredients you’re using and how you prefer your granola in terms of consistency. Vanilla extract is the most common extract you’ll find in granola, but you can also experiment with that – or omit it entirely if you prefer a salty and savory granola.
5. Spice It Up
While almost every granola recipe calls for the addition of around 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of salt, from there you’re free to mix and match different spices and come up with your own favorite combinations. You can add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, a classic staple in most granolas, or you can reduce the cinnamon to 1/4 teaspoon and add 1/4 a teaspoon of ground ginger as well. Other spices to consider include cardamom or even cayenne if you want to add a unique kick to your recipe. Just remember – go easy on the spices – about 1/2 a teaspoon is all you need to give your granola a rich flavor without overwhelming it.
6. All the Extras
After you’ve combined all of your dry (grains, raw nuts, salt, spices) and wet (oils, sweeteners, extracts), your granola is ready for baking. Temperatures and baking times will vary from recipe to recipe and can involve as little time as thirty minutes and as much time as over an hour, but one good rule of thumb is to always keep an eye on your granola to ensure it’s evenly reaching a toasty, golden brown. It’s especially important to be diligent about checking on your granola when you’re experimenting with new ingredients, to ensure it doesn’t burn! After you’re granola is baked, you’ll want to let it cool before adding in a few more ingredients – and a few more opportunities to get creative. Mix dried fruits including cranberries, blueberries, or raisins into your granola! You can also add toasted, shredded coconut, cocoa nibs, pepitas, or roasted nuts!
The possibilities are almost endless when you’re making homemade granola – there’s almost always an opportunity to experiment with new ingredients and create your own signature combinations, all perfect for topping a refreshing acai bowl.
Have a favorite granola recipe or an awesome tip for making the perfect batch every time? Leave us a comment and let us know about your granola experiments!