baking Aug 20, 2020

I love making these breakfast parfaits for a quick breakfast in the heat of summer and honestly, they make a yummy dessert. I use lactose free milk kefir or Raw Farm Kefir which is thinner than yogurt which means all of the crevices are filled in as it dribbles into the jar.

I dice fresh peaches, nectarines, etc. and layer them with the granola and the milk kefir which is full of probiotics. Start with milk kefir in the bottom, then layer granola and fruit ending with kefir to create a seal. Last, add a sprinkle of granola. I make 4 or so at once. Covered with kefir, the fruit lasts perfectly.

Basic Granola - Makes 8 cups

You can half and/or double the recipe easily.

  • 3 1/2 cups (12 oz) old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cook oats)

  • 1/2 cup (1 oz) flaked, unsweetened coconut

  • 1 cup (3 1/2 oz) total sliced almonds, pecans, cashew, hazelnut or walnut pieces

  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

  • 1/4 cup flax seeds

  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

  • 1/2 (4 oz.) cup pure maple syrup, honey, or equal parts of each

  • 1/3 cup (2 1/4 oz./70g) melted coconut oil or unsalted butter, ideally grass-fed

  • 1 Tbls. flax seed oil (optional)

  • 2 tsp. vanilla

  • 1 1/2 cups dried fruits such as raisins, cranberries, blueberries, chopped apricots or figs

  • Or, use 1 to 1 1/2 cups freeze-dried strawberries raspberries for a light and tart summer granola


  1. Combine the dry ingredients (except dried fruit) in a very large bowl. Toss well. 

  2. Melt coconut oil or butter gently and completely and whisk in maple syrup. Heat until they form a thin, loose liquid which will help to coat the ingredients well. Add vanilla and stir.

  3. Pour the syrup mixture over the dry mixture, stirring and tossing with a silicone spatula until everything is really well combined.

To Bake - Method A for a loose granola:

  1. Preheat oven to 250˚F 

  2. Spread granola on 1 or 2 parchment-lined cookie sheets with rims. 

  3. Bake for 2 hours, stirring the mixture every 30 minutes to 1 hour. Cool completely.

  4. Transfer back to your washed and dried large bowl and toss with fruit. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

For a darker, chunkier granola use method B:

  1. Preheat oven to 325˚

  2. Pack granola into a 9x13-inch pan that is lined with parchment paper. The granola should be about an inch deep. Gently pack down the granola with your hands or the back of a wooden spoon or spatula.

  3. Bake for 45-50 minutes, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes. Pack down after each stir.

  4. Remove granola from the oven and press down with spatula to form a compressed block. When cool and dry, break the granola apart into chunks  and toss with fruit.

  5. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

Baking granola slowly allows everything to lightly toast. Add dried fruit once granola has cooled and toss.


  • The ratio of oats to other dry ingredients should be around 1:1.

  • The ratio of wet-to-dry ingredients varies widely among recipes. A higher proportion of wet ingredients will yield a candy-coated, crunchy granola, while a drier recipe will be more loose in consistency. 

  • To create a mix of clusters and loose granola, without the sweetness of a sugar-heavy blend, in a food processor, blend a small amount of the oats into a coarse flour. This helps to bind everything together without too much sugar going into the mix.

  • It’s easy to over bake granola. Use a low oven temperature (300°–325°) and stir often, monitoring for color rather than texture. The granola will firm up as it cools. Taste (carefully) as it cooks to get the flavor that you like. The darker the granola, the toastier it becomes.

More flavors:

  • Substitute 1/3 to 1/2 cup tahini for butter. Melt with the maple syrup or honey. Add 1/2 to 1 tsp. cardamom to the dry mix along with 2 to 4 Tbls sesame seeds

  • Add 1/2 to 1 tsp spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice blend, etc.

Yummy combos:

  • Dried figs and cardamom, or dried apples, dates and walnuts in fall

  • Pecans, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice in fall

  • Dried mango & coconut in summer

  • Dried berries and cherries, almonds in spring

  • Ginger with ginger powder, candied ginger in winter 

  • Candied lemon or orange peel

  • Add freeze dried berries instead of dried fruit

  • Add 2 Tbls molasses and gingerbread spices in winter

Peanut Butter & Jelly Granola - Makes 8 cups

Freeze dried fruit adds a light fruit flavor with zing.

“Peanut Butter & Jelly” Granola


  • 4½ cups rolled oats, divided

  • 2½ cups roasted unsalted peanuts

  • ¾ cup creamy unsalted peanut butter

  • ¾ cup honey

  • ¼ cup melted, unsalted butter

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • Either: ½ cup each dried strawberries and blueberries or 1 package (1 oz) freeze dried strawberries, blueberries or raspberries


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a food processor, combine ½ cup of the rolled grains with the peanuts. Process the mixture in half-second pulses, about 5 times, just until the peanuts are coarsely chopped.

  3. In a large bowl, combine the chopped peanut/grain mixture with the rest of the rolled grains. Set aside.

  4. In a small (1-quart) saucepan over low heat, combine the peanut butter, honey, butter, and salt. Stirring frequently, heat until thin and warm but not simmering.

  5. Pour the peanut butter mixture evenly over the grains and peanuts. Stir well with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, until all of the grains and nuts are coated evenly.

  6. Spread out the granola evenly onto the lined baking sheet.

  7. Bake for 35–50 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes to ensure even color.

  8. Remove granola from the oven and let cool to room temperature. When completely cool, gently break apart into clusters. Stir in the dried fruits. Store in an airtight container. 

Granola is so expensive and yet very simple to make and crazy flexible. You can substitute almost everything (except maybe the oats but even then …) as long as you keep the wet to dry ratio about the same as it is in the recipe.

My morning breakfast (above) is my granola with roasted strawberries (see below) and Raw Farm Kefir. Soooo good.

Recipes very adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking, Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains and from a recipe by Coco Morante, Silicon Valley–based food writer.

Roasted Strawberries, Honey & Thyme - Serves 6

Roasting fruit is a great way to use that fruit before it goes south. It’s delicious with ice cream, in smoothies, and with granola! Peaches, nectarines, strawberries, figs, pears and apple all work well.

  • 2 pints strawberries, stems removed

  • 1Tbls. honey

  • 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme (optional)

  • 1 Tbls. balsamic vinegar

  1. Rinse the strawberries in cool water, place in a strainer or colander, and shake off the water. Place on paper towel to dry.

  2. Slice the strawberries in half or leave whole if they are small. Place them in a large bowl, drizzle with honey and refrigerate for an hour or so.

  3. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Toss the strawberries with the balsamic vinegar, and put the strawberries and all of their juices into a large ovenproof sauté pan or baking dish. Sprinkle with thyme.

  4. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, until the juices are bubbling and the strawberries are hot but not mushy.

  5. Divide among individual dishes and serve immediately with whipped Crème Fraîche or refrigerate for later use.

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