Most people who know me know I’m obsessed with granola. And, more to the point, obsessed with playing with it. To most people granola is a nutty, oaty, cinnamony breakfast staple. It’s defined by whatever their favorite brand or recipe happens to be. But for me, granola is my favorite blank canvas, a category that’s wide open to interpretation.
I’ve come up with some crazy, and crazy delicious, recipes that use everything from sriracha to buttermilk powder. I’ll save those for a different post. Today, we’re bringing you a granola developed with beer-loving, crunch-addicted dads in mind. Father’s Day is right around the corner, after all.
According to just about every Father’s Day-related magazine story or advertisement, dad’s day of honor is all about grilling. But if dad’s the resident grill master, doesn’t that mean he’s singing for his own supper on his special day?
Even if he doesn’t mind doing the cooking, we still think making dad a special breakfast is the perfect way to set the tone for a day of appreciation. You could go all-out with a big Hungry Man-style breakfast, complete with Bloody Marys, and we have. But this year we’re making something a bit more health-conscious and heart-friendly. It’s just another way of letting him know we care. And as a bonus, granola is easy enough for the kids to make.
What makes this granola so perfect for guys is its hearty taste and addictive crunch. I use barley malt syrup to help sweeten it and give it an earthy, malty flavor. It’s the same syrup used in beer making, which seems extra-appropriate, though it’s also used in making breads which is why you can find it on the baking aisle. There’s a trick to using it, though. Because the syrup is already caramelized, it’s prone to burning and becoming bitter unless you cook the granola at a really low temperature.
I add a little malted milk powder to amp up that malt flavor, then a little baking soda to aerate the mixture and give it an almost honeycomb-like crunch. But beyond that, you can customize the mix to whatever the dad in your life likes most. Pecans, dried cherries, raisins, banana chips, chopped chocolate — it all works deliciously with this not-too-sweet granola.
Crispy Malted Granola with Pecans and Dried Cherries
Makes about 5 cups
If you love the flavor of malt, you’ll love this granola. And the crispy-crunchy texture means it’s great for snacking, too. Be sure to cook it at a low temperature to keep the syrup from scorching and becoming bitter.
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup malt powder
1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
1/4 cup barley malt syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup pecans or other nuts
1/2 cup dried cherries or other dried fruit
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, malt powder, oil, barley malt syrup, and water. Bring to simmer over medium heat and cook until the brown sugar has dissolved. Stir in the vanilla, cinnamon, salt and baking soda (the mixture will foam up considerably). Add the oats and pecans and stir until thoroughly coated.
Spread the mixture on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, stir in the dried fruit, then turn off the heat and leave the pan in the oven for another 10 minutes. The mixture will crisp up as it cools. If adding banana chips or chocolate, add it after the granola has completely cooled. Store in an airtight container.