The Best Granola I’ve Ever Had!


Thank you for all the wonderful pizza recipes, it is going to be very difficult to pick the winning combination to appear in Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day. Jeff, myself and the editors at St. Martin’s Press will pick one and announce it next week. We will also announce the winners of the 5 signed copies of HBin5.

While we make our selection here is a post that originally appeared in 2008 about our granola from ABin5. Perfect Winter comfort food!

This is one of my favorite recipes in the book and it gets almost no attention. There is really nothing that smells as good as this granola when it is baking.  It tastes incredible and makes a fabulous breakfast, snack or gift. It is one of those recipes once you’ve made it, you will end up baking it over and over again.

I developed the recipe for the book to use in the “Aunt Melissa’s Granola Bread” on page 114. My Aunt lived with my father and me on a commune in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. She baked this granola at least once a week in massive batches to feed the many people who lived with us. It was so popular she ended up selling it to the local co-ops and then beyond. Our commune became all about granola production and I still to this day, nearly 35 years later, remember the smell of it baking.

My aunt passed away many years ago and the actual recipe with her. This one is very close and brings back all of the wonderful memories of that time and of her. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!

Aunt Melissa’s Granola:

1/3 cup honey (if you are using a honey that has crystallized, just melt it for a few seconds)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups rolled oats

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

3/4 cup chopped nuts of your choice

3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (I’ve used sweetened in a pinch and it is quite good, but makes a much sweeter granola)

1/2 cup raisins (I usually end up doubling the amount)

1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped dried apricots and/or dried cranberries (use any combination of dried fruit that you enjoy and as much of it as you like!)

Preheat oven to 350° and line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment or a silpat


Combine the honey, maple syrup, oil, water and vanilla, set aside.

Toss together all of the dry ingredients. (leaving the raisins and dried fruit out until after the granola is baked)


Add the honey mixture and toss with a spoon until the oats are well covered.


Spread the granola over two rimmed baking sheets in a thin layer.


Bake for 25-30 minutes. After 10 minutes toss the granola with a spoon and rotate the trays from top to bottom so they both bake evenly. keep a close eye on it as it starts to turn brown so it doesn’t over bake. It will be a deep golden brown when it is done.


Allow the  granola to cool on cooling rack and then put in a large bowl and add the dried fruit.


Eat as a breakfast cereal, give as gifts in glass jars and make it into our “Aunt Melissa’s Granola Bread” on page 114 of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Enjoy!

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157 thoughts on “The Best Granola I’ve Ever Had!

  1. I just picked up your book today and am excited to get started. I actually used one of the recipes yesterday and let it sit in the fridge to get an extra day of “flavor” on the bread.

    BTW, I received this cd/ online format for a cookbook from one of my favorite restaurants and thought I would pass it on to you.

    This is a great way to “sell” books, continuously add to the “book”, correct printing errors and save trees!

  2. Hi Janine,

    Thank you for trying out the book. I look forward to hearing about all the bread you bake!

    Thanks for the suggestion, I think it is a wonderful idea!


  3. Hi Lu,

    I’m so PLEASED that you made it. I just love this recipe. Thanks for letting me know. Enjoy the cereal and the bread!


  4. I have a favorite granola that I buy and have tried many recipes, but never get the right “crunch!” with homemade granola. I’ve eyed your recipe in the book a few times, but haven’t tried it. I should give it a try since you seem to love it! Is it crunchy?

  5. Hi Stephanie,

    Yes it IS crunchy! Make sure you let it cool completely before packing it up or it may get soggy. I hope you try it and let me know what you think.

    Thanks, Zoë

  6. I had to check back in after my post of 10/13!

    The Granola Bread is sooooooo very good. It has a wonderful taste. I made both loaves and will freeze one or see if my daughter stops by to “mooch” it from me!

    (I am buying both my kids the Artisan book and a dough bucket as a holiday gift this year!!!)

  7. Hi Lu,

    Thanks for letting me know. I’m so pleased you made the granola bread. Thanks for sharing the book and your love of bread baking with your kids!

    Hi Ari,

    It is a fabulous granola, I promise that you’ll love it!!! 😉

    Please enjoy! Zoë

  8. I love this recipe!!!!! I make it every other week and it has become a staple in my home. the sun flower seeds look good too.

  9. Hi Pamela,

    I’m SO glad to hear that. I was seriously wondering if anyone had tried it and I love it so much!!

    Thanks for letting me know.


  10. Hi,
    I just ordered the book today, can I make the granola with just honey and not the maple syrup? substituting the amount of syrup with the honey? thanks

  11. Hi, I have this book in my possession and am storing up supplies (just got my oven thermometer, am waiting on my buckets to arrive!) I am so excited to start using this book. My daughter is peanut & tree nut allergic. Thankfully I love to bake but have been afraid of bread – until now:) As one can imagine, you really can’t buy anything from the bakery and be confident it’s nut free – so I am thrilled to have this wonderful tool that will be so versatile for us. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Nor can you buy anything from a bulk bin, really, like granola, which finally brings me to my point. I was excited to see the granola recipe – bonus! – and am wondering – any suggestions for additions if I leave out the nuts & coconut? I’m sure it’s a matter of taste, but any ideas to make up for that sweetness you lose from the coconut?

  12. Hi Nell,

    Yes you can substitute honey for the maple syrup in the granola. If you have really thick honey you may want to add a couple more tablespoon sof water.

    Enjoy and thanks for trying out the book!


  13. Hi Meg,

    I’m so glad that you will be able to make your daughter bread.

    I would add more of the seeds and perhaps even some wheat germ for the nuttiness? The coconut I use is unsweetened so you won’t be missing any of the sweetness when you eliminate the coconut.

    Enjoy! Zoë

  14. I was curious to know how long the granola keeps once stored. It sounds fantastic. I am considering making it as Christmas presents.

  15. Hi Erin,

    If you bake the granola well it will be dry enough to last for at least a week, if not two. I’d wait and add the dried fruit at the last minute, because it has some moisture and will make the granola soggy if stored for any amount of time.

    It makes a great gift!

    Thanks, Zoë

  16. I absolutely love your book. What a treasure. I love the granola. Good stuff.!!! I love the texture and dryness of the granola. My wheels are already spinning on different fruit and nut combinations to try out next.

    I only needed a cup and a half of granola for the dough bucket to make the “Granola Bread” so I made up some granola bars, which everyone here likes to eat. And I still have a fare amount left of the granola to use for other ideas.
    The granola bread is now rising in pans on the counter. Looks great, can’t wait. Tomorrow the grand children will descend and I will see how they like the granola and the granola bars.

  17. Hi Julia,

    You are so inspiring! I’d love to know how you made the granola bars. Want to share the recipe?

    Thanks for your lovely note and have fun with the grand children.


  18. You are so welcome, thanks for asking. I have been enjoying your book all summer with my husband benefiting. I can truly say that he is benefiting because we have virtually no leftovers from my experiments, for I am one of those who love to go to the cupboards and ask what if I use this instead…?

    Chewy Granola Bars
    ¼ cup butter or half of a stick
    1 10-ounce bag of mini-marshmallows (About 5 1/2 to 6 cups)
    4 cups any kind of dry cereal (I used rice squares)
    2 cups of granola
    3 cups Graham cracker crumbs
    6-ounce of butterscotch chips

    When making this you need to have everything measured out and ready to go. Use a long wooden handle spoon for stirring and leverage.

    Melt ¼ cup of butter in a large heavy-bottom pan over low-medium heat. (Slow heating here is good). Allow the butter to lightly brown, add the mini-marshmallows and let them melt and brown a little too. (Think of summer campfires and “Some mores”) You will see some brown flicks forming these are ok. Stir often while everything is melting and becoming gooey then turn off the heat. This takes about 10 minuets for it to reach this point in which I normally use the time to double check and be sure everything is still ready to go to the next step.

    Add the cereal first to the hot mix the pan. Lightly fold the cereal in and after it is well covered add the granola. Mix, and then add about 2 cups of the graham cracker crumbs and the chips. Mix well again then pour and scrape quickly into a 9×13 pan lined with foil.

    Spread remaining graham cracker crumbs all over the top and lightly smooch down to even it all out. Let it set up for a couple of hours or over night and cut into square or strips. Shake off the extra crumbs and roll the squares around in the crumbs that have fallen off. The crumbs give the bars a nice finish and mouth appeal plus they won’t stick to the wax paper. Wrap each square or strip in wax paper and store in lidded container. Enjoy

  19. Zoe, I made the granola and you’re right! So good, easy, and nicely *crunchy*! Julia, I’m trying those granola bars next 🙂

  20. Granola bars some people like them and some don’t. But all can agree that it is defiantly a form of very dense nutrition. As mothers we learned long ago that we could hide something viewed as yucky into something viewed as pleasing. This is a great place to experiment to find new ways of getting nutrition into picky eaters.

    You can guess how these granola bars morphed into being by reading the first two ingredients. I have made these many times over the years with them being a little different each time depending on what I altered because of what was on hand.

    That is another reason why I am having so much fun with your book. The dough’s are so lovely and un-temperamental great for experimenting.

    I am going to post over in the “Brioche dough and all it’s wonderful uses” on what I did with this dough. Julia

  21. My family have just returned from a trip to Canada where we fell in love with Granola. I have just made a double batch of your recipe and it is fantastic. I hope your Aunt is smiling down from Heaven. Cheers from Newcastle, Australia.

  22. Hi Stephanie,

    Thank you and I hope you use Julia’s recipe and let us know how they came out!

    Hi T Grant,

    Wow, I’m so glad you have discovered granola and that you are making Melissa’s recipe. I’m sure it does make her smile!

    Thanks you! ZOë

  23. Zoë you are so very kind. You remind me of someone who has never met a stranger. I first made your Aunt’s granola following the instructions from your wonderful book. I was intrigued with the granola bread, which I did make.

    Then after making the recipe from the book, I have read the page here and have decided to do up a batch of your Aunt’s granola again with your added changes of the extra dried fruit. I also realized after making your Aunt’s recipe that the sesame seeds are an important part of the taste. I was quite impressed with the finished product and could feel the past catch up with the present. You do your Aunt a great honor.

    I will be making a road trip soon and I plan on making several varied batches of granola to make several varied batches of bars for the trip. I watched a show on salty and sweet, and the wheels started turning. This is part of my projects for the week; make granola bars for the trip.

    I hope to make several new converts to dough buckets before my return.

  24. Hi Julia,

    Thank you for all of the wonderful notes. I’m having a blast reading of all your experiences with the breads. You have wonderful suggestions for people as well!

    Enjoy your road trip, Zoë

  25. Hi JD,

    It would be a challenge to make granola without sweetener, but you could certainly try. You would have to replace the sweeteners with something that will moisten the oats, perhaps apple juice?

    Good luck and Happy Baking!


  26. I made this tonight. It is SOOOOOO good! I subsituted some things. I didn’t have maple syrup so, I used light corn syrup and maple flavoring. I put sweet coconut, pecans, walnuts and thinly sliced chopped apples. I added the apples with the oats so they would cook. Finished it off with dried cranberries. The only thing, my granola was “loose”. I didn’t have big clumps of granola. Still, I had some for dinner!

  27. I’ve made this three times now and LOVE IT!!! I haven’t had sesame seeds around so I haven’t made it “real” yet, and look forward to seeing how that will add to the overall wonderfulness of this granola. I wake up thinking, Yay! It’s breakfast!

  28. Awesome, Cosette. Once Zoe taught my family this recipe, we’ve never bought store-bought granola again. We don’t find that the sesame is absolutely essential, so you’ve already tasted the real deal. It’s nice though, see what you think once you add it in. Jeff

  29. JD, one way to make this a little healthier would be to use a different oil, such as grapeseed. I’m going to try it tomorrow and see how it turns out. I also don’t have any real maple syrup, so hopefully it won’t suffer from the use of the fake stuff. It’s gotten so ridiculously expensive now!

  30. Well, I used grapeseed oil and “lite” pancake syrup, which might be some options to consider for those concerned about calories and fat. I think it turned out very well! I ended up eyeballing most of the ingredients since I don’t like running back and forth from my computer to the kitchen, and I forgot to add water, but it turned out very nice! It’s delicious with dried cranberries.

    My husband, who is usually pretty meat-and-potatoes, smelled it baking and started whining “how much longer before it’s reaaaaadddyyyy?” This was definitely a hit. 🙂

  31. I rec’d this book and just made my first batch of granola before making any bread! It is cooling now, I can hardly wait to taste it!Okay, I tasted it, mmmmm….

  32. I read about your book in “Mother Earth News” and tried the basic bread recipe last week. Really liked that so was looking up where to buy the book online and found this site with the granola recipe. I make it immediately and just had a bowl while it was still warm (couldn’t wait). It is the Best I’ve ever tasted! I did add a little flax seed and subbed pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon but kept to the rest of the recipe. AWESOME! I’ll be ordering the book right away. Thanks!

  33. Hi Nell and Marleen,

    Thank you for trying the granola! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

    I love the idea of flax and pie spice!

    Thanks, Zoë

  34. Many thanks, Zoe, for this recipe. I haven’t previously eaten much granola, but I could get addicted to this! I’ll also try making the bread some time.
    With good wishes,

  35. This granola rocks. In fact, it’s the best I’ve ever had. My spouse is now eating it too, and she was never a fan of granola. I used dried apricots for the fruit (along with raisins). Thanks for the recipe!!! I’m pretty positive your book is under the tree with my name on it 🙂

  36. Just made my first batch and I am hoping it is delicious…but after just 25 minutes my granola on the upper rack was pretty burnt. I tossed the granola and rotated the trays and I know the temperature was right…could it be the rack was too high up?? Thank you! I think it will probably taste good anyways.

  37. Hi Carolyn,

    Yes, your upper rack may have been to high. I have mine no higher than 2/3 of the way up. Every oven is so different and it may just be that you need less baking time.

    Enjoy! Zoë

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