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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Family Favorites - September 2018: Gluten-Free Granola (Fish, Egg, Wheat, Milk and Soy-Free, Can Be Nut-Free)

This year, I decided to list a family favorite recipe from the blog (with any adaptions that we use regularly, if applicable) on the fourth Friday or Saturday of every month.  This recipe will be one that we make quite often and that we all enjoy greatly.  This post is the ninth Family Favorites recipe of 2018.

If you have a recipe on your blog that you consider a family favorite that you'd like to share, please comment below with a link to the recipe, and I'll make sure to pop on over and visit your site to check it out (and leave a comment), and hopefully some of my other readers will, too.

This month's Family Favorite recipe is Gluten-Free Granola.  This is basically just a re-posting of my Granola recipe with a few tricks I've learned over the years listed, and tips on how to make sure it is gluten-free for those who need it to be.  Along with being wheat-free, it is also fish, egg, milk and soy-free (as long as your ingredients are), and can easily be nut-free (see variations).  It is also one of the recipes my family requests for me to make all the time, and one that I try to have on hand whenever the weather starts to get nasty just in case we have a power outage.  We eat it plain, on yogurt, as cereal - I've even eaten it on ice cream.  You can do so much with it!  I will even list a variation that is completely grain and baking free!  It really is super easy, makes a ton, and is so customizable.  You're sure to find a combination that is a true winner for everyone in your family!

Gluten-Free Granola

3 Cups gluten-free old-fashioned or quick cooking oats, NOT instant oatmeal
(We always use quick cooking oats.)

2 – 2 ½ Cups of any combination of the following:
almonds, pecans, walnuts, coconut, sunflower seeds, cashews, pumpkin seeds,
or any other seeds or nuts that fit your dietary needs
(We normally use 2 1/2 Cups in total, and use raw nuts and seeds when available.  We normally use almonds, pecans and pumpkin seeds.)

¼ Cup (packed) brown sugar
(We always use Domino Light Brown Sugar.)

¼ Cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ Cup honey
(We always use clover honey, and we get local honey whenever possible.)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

dash of salt

1 ½ teaspoons gluten-free vanilla extract

Any combination of the following, to taste:
raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, any other dried fruit of choice that fits your dietary needs
(We normally use dried cranberries, dried blueberries, dried cherries, and/or dried mixed berries.)

  1. Preheat oven to 350oF.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats and your choice of coconuts, nuts and/or seeds; set aside. (Note: For those will Celiac's or gluten-sensitivity/allergy, please make sure that your oats and other ingredients are certified gluten-free.  If you cannot have oats at all, see my variations below for grain-free options.)
  3. In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, oil, honey, cinnamon and salt; bring to a boil.  (Note: It doesn't have to come to a rolling boil, just a regular boil.  Another tip: Since they are all the same amount, add the sugar, oil and honey in the order listed and you won't have any trouble with honey sticking to your measuring cup or the need to use more than one! :) Gotta love having less dishes to clean!)
  4. Remove sugar mixture from the heat and stir in vanilla.  (Note: Again, make sure your vanilla is certified gluten-free if you need it to be!)
  5. Pour sugar mixture over oat mixture; stir to coat.
  6. Spread in a large, shallow, un-greased baking pan (think half to full-size sheet pan).  (Note: If you want to put the granola on parchment paper, you can, but it is not necessary, and, in my experience, I've found that it is definitely easier to stir in step 7 without the parchment.)
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until lightly toasted. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Slightly under baking is better than over baking.  (Note: Yes, you need to  stir it every 5 minutes or it will burn!  You can stir it as often as every 3 minutes if you are worried you will burn it.)
  8. Remove the pan from the oven, transfer the granola to waxed paper or parchment paper, spread the granola out flat, and then cool the granola completely before adding your choice of dried fruits.  (Note: You don't want to stir the granola after this point until it's completely cooled unless you don't want larger clusters of granola.  If you want it to have a fine texture, you will have to stir it/break it up as it cools.  If you like it with more clusters (like I do), let it set until it is completely cool before stirring.)
  9. Enjoy as a topping, a cereal or a snack as is, and store any left-overs in an airtight container. (Note: I store mine in the fridge so that it lasts longer, but you can store it in the cupboard, as well.) 
 Variations (Please keep your individual dietary needs in mind when using substitutions.  Thank you!):

  • Nut-Free: You can make this recipe nut-free by substituting oatmeal or some other dry type of ingredient (like wheat germ or coconut) for the nuts (Note: I do not consider coconut a tree nut, though some do, so if you cannot have it, leave it out.  I also do not consider seeds as a nut, because they are not, so if you cannot have them, please leave them out.).
  • Grain-Free: You can leave out the oats and use quinoa flakes or just all nuts, coconut and seeds if you need this recipe to be grain-free.
  • Other Flavors: As I've mentioned, you can completely customize this granola!  You can add M&Ms, pretzel bits (gluten-free, if needed), mini cookie bits (gluten-free, if needed), chocolate chips (allergy-friendly like Enjoy Life, if needed), butterscotch chips, vanilla chips, mini marshmallows, etc. to the cooled granola mixture, if you desire and can have them.  You can add flavored nuts and seeds (i.e. chocolate or yogurt covered, cinnamon and sugar covered), too, though I'd add them in to the cooled baked mixture vs. baking them in.  Whatever you think sounds good that fits in your dietary needs is allowed! :)
  • No Bake Option Snack Mix: If you don't want to make a baked granola or don't have time to make a baked granola, you can omit the oats and all the sugar, oil, honey and spices, and just mix nuts, seeds, dried fruits and/or any of the options mentioned in "Other Flavors" variation above in a large container and store it in the fridge or cupboard.  It is a super easy way to make a snack mix!  I've made a S'mores version with Enjoy Life chocolate chips, mini marshmallows and broken up gluten-free vanilla wafers/cookies (Kinnikinnick and Enjoy Life both have tasty options for those) that was a huge success with the kiddos!

As you can see, the sky's the limit with this versatile snack!
I hope you give it a try and that it becomes a family favorite for you, too!

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