Niamh Doherty

Alton Brown’s Granola

In Breakfast on April 19, 2010 at 22:54

When I took the plunge and moved out of home last May, my good friends Polly and David gifted me a mix CD of weekend music, some really good coffee, and a Kilner jar full of delicious granola. A couple of weeks later, the jar was empty, so I decided to find the recipe online and make more. And more. And more.  I don’t like not having this in the house, and start to fret when the large jar I store it in dips below half-full.

As always, I’ve meddled with this (I can’t not), and the recipe detailed below is what I usually use, substituting different types of nuts depending on what I’ve got to hand. Pecans are delicious, as are hazelnuts and whole almonds instead of the flaked nuts that Alton specifies. The original recipe is here if you’re curious; I omit the shredded coconut, finding it too throat-catchingly dry to be enjoyable straight from the packet, let alone after it’s been in the oven for an hour. The stipulated raisins could easily be replaced by dried cranberries, sour cherries or juicy sultanas. Cinnamon’s warm breath would also be welcome here. The one ingredient I urge you to include is the soft, dark, brown sugar – don’t use any vaguely-buff-coloured sweet stuff lurking at the back of your cupboard as the granola just won’t taste the same. You need the dark, treacley presence of this particular sugar to caramelise in the oven’s heat, and lend a little extra something to this breakfast treat.

This recipe makes enough to fill one large and one medium-sized Kilner jar. It’s delicious served for breakfast with seasonal fruit toppings – poached rhubarb in late winter, chopped strawberries in early summer, raspberries and blueberries tumbled over in the July heat, blackberries or faintly cinnamon-scented stewed apples in autumn – and a dollop of Greek yoghurt, refreshing with milk for a quick weekday breakfast, gives a textural crunch when sprinkled over ice-cream, and serves as a guilt-free, kitchen-pottering snack, to be eaten by the handful whenever you pass by the jar. Might I add – as Joe and I will testify – when presented in a be-ribboned jar it makes a wonderful gift, and will be gratefully welcomed by those lucky enough to warrant its bestowal.

Alton Brown’s Granola


3 cups rolled oats

1 cup flaked almonds

1 cup cashews

1/2 cup mixed seeds

1/4 cup whole hazelnuts

1/4 cup & 2 tbsps dark brown sugar

1/4 cup & 2 tbsps maple syrup

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup raisins


1. Preheat the oven to 120 Celcius/Gas Mark 1/2.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, nuts and seeds.

3. In a jug, mix together the sugar, oil, maple syrup and salt. A whisk is ideal for this as it will break up any sugary clumps.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir to combine. It will seem as though there isn’t enough of the oil mixture to coat the oats and nuts, but trust me, and keep stirring.

5. When thoroughly mixed, divide the mixture between two baking trays and pop in the oven.

6. Bake for approx one hour (or until golden), stirring the contents of the trays every 15 minutes or so to achieve a uniform light brown hue.

7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Add the raisins and mix through, before decanting to storage jars.

  1. David here: you forgot 2 (well 1.5 maybe) important uses for this deliciousness. First the 0.5, in any yogurt for breakfast. I take a pot of yogurt to work and come the 10am stomach rumbles, out comes the yogurt, in goes the granola, and around goes my smile. The other vital use is as trail food. Very little gets you up a hill like a fist of this stuff. Versions with dried cherries or craisins (dried cranberries) are my favourite.

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