Obsessed with… Granola


My obsession with granola started when I was at school in Durham, North Carolina.  My parents were visiting and we took a drive to Raleigh, where we fell upon a bakery that had the largest slabs of granola in the window we had ever seen.  It stopped us in our tracks, and was simply outrageous.  After graduating, I found out that bakery was Big Sky Bread and convinced them (before they started shipping nationwide) to send a massive box to my parents in New York as a surprise.  A bigger surprise came years later when I could no longer track them down; the bakery closed.  Years went by and my parents and I would say to each other from time to time, “remember that granola in Raleigh…?”  We all did.

Well guess what, fast forward another several years to today – and I found them again !  Bonus – just in time for my father’s birthday too (happy birthday, Dad ! ).  With a brand new, bigger bakery and warehouse in Pelham, Alabama, Jeff and Patti Pierce will continue to make that same original, honey almond Big Sky Granola that happens to be available in grocery stores across the country, mostly in the south. I may have to test their international shipping now…


While still in college, I started baking my own granola too, playing around with different nuts, seeds and oats, and using all sorts of sweeteners, like honey, brown sugar, maple syrup and molasses.  I loved making different varieties, mixing and matching ingredients.  There were batches that I loaded with dried fruit like my more recent Extra Crispy and Colorful Granola.  And batches that tried to emulate the recipe from Cambridge’s Formaggio Kitchen, a favorite shop of mine while living in Boston.

There was also a delicious granola-filled weekend in Connecticut when hostess (Dorie Greenspan) and guest (me) coincidentally both made a few batches !  I had just returned from a month-long trip backpacking around Morocco (on my honeymoon !), with plenty of local goodies, including a 4.5 kilo box of small, black dates from Zagora and a large jar of carob honey I found in Essaouira.  Into my “Moroccan Granola” it went, that finished in three flavors: plain, chocolate and licorice (the latter, Dorie’s favorite).  Dorie shared photos of the three batches and her own granola recipe for Oatmeal, Honey and Nut Granola.


I still make granola on a regular basis – regularly simply because I finish it too fast.  While I like to try new recipes, thanks to all the creative ideas from food bloggers (see below for links), I do have my preferences now: without dried fruit, just tons of grains and nuts.  No honey either; I like maple syrup.  And two types of sea salt.  Oh, and dark chocolate too, but of course.  After playing with countless recipes over the years, tweaking them here and there, I settled on my final recipe that I continue to bake without changing a thing.  It’s just too good.  And so good that I don’t dare eat it with milk or yogurt, nor even as ice cream topping (my usual).  This granola gets eaten straight from the jar, dry.

The key to its crunch and addictive nature ?  It’s all in the mixing.  Before it goes in the oven and while it’s baking.  And here’s where being a tad neurotic comes in handy too – I flip the granola like pancakes every 10 minutes or so, and towards the end, every 5 minutes.  That way, it’s uniformly baked (never burnt) and so crunchy that it sounds like pebbles when you pour it into jars.  Music to my ears.


Kerrin’s Crunchy Granola with Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt

500 grams large oats
400 grams mixed nuts (cashews, almonds, pecans, Brazilian nuts, hazelnuts), coarsely chopped
300 grams mixed seeds (sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, flax, buckwheat, poppy)
200 grams apple sauce, unsweetened
200 grams dark chocolate
100 grams light brown sugar
4 Tablespoons maple syrup (Vermont grade B)
1 tsp Maldon salt
fleur de sel

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss oats, seeds and nuts in a very large bowl. Add brown sugar and Maldon salt, and mix thoroughly. Add apple sauce and mix to distribute. Add maple syrup and mix well again to coat all the dry ingredients. Folding is a good technique here – continue to turn the bowl, while tipping it away from you, all the while using a large spatula to pull mixture up towards you and away, in a circular motion. Keep mixing.

Spread as thin and evenly as possible on two large sheet pans. Bake in intervals of 10-15 minutes for an hour, switching sheets top and bottom, back and front. Each time, use a large flat metal spatula to turn granola like a hamburger or pancake, to bake both sides. (It will start to color after the third time.) Depending on your oven and how dark you like your granola, continue to bake, another 2-3 intervals of 5 minutes, repeating the above process.

Let cool completely.  Add chopped chocolate and sprinkle with fleur de sel.


More granola recipes, inspiration & sweet ideas:
Take your pick of ingredients – coconut oil, puffed rice, wheat germ, flax seeds, cocoa powder, rice syrup, olive oil, butter…
Farmhand’s Choice Granola by Nekisia Davis of Early Bird Foods
Chocolate Peanut Granola on Deliciously Organic
Gluten-Free Chocolate Granola on Passionate About Baking
Chocolate Crunch Granola on delicious:days
Almond and Seed Granola on La Petite Grenouille
Bob’s Toasted Muesli via What Katie Ate
“The Best Granola Recipe” by David Lebovitz
Crunchy Nutty Granola on Will Travel for Food

40 Responses to “Obsessed with… Granola”

  1. mayssam says:

    I’ve been waiting for this post! I am definitely trying your recipe for my next batch, it looks absolutely delicious! oh and straight from the jar dry is how mine gets eaten too… and how it disappears so quickly!

  2. KugelDad says:

    Love the post. Love the pictures. But most of all, I LOVE THE GRANOLA. Sooooo delicious. And ah yes, the memories. Thanks honey. So let’s see… granola and ice cream for dessert. Granola out of the bag for a snack. Granola and milk for breakfast in the morning…………….

  3. Mom says:

    I do remember the first time we tasted the Big Sky granola…I remember that exact moment….Wonderful memories and now they come alive again. A surprise in the mail today a box filled to the brim with the most crunchiest granola with just the right nuts and sweeteners. I just loved it!!! Of course, I love your granola as well …..thank you for sending it for your dad’s birthday!!! Love it…..the nuts and oats are just popping right out of the computer….thank you once again….

  4. Sam Sidney says:

    First of all, I love the name of this title. Obsessed.. and I need to get some of that! They must have it near here.. I am going to investigate. Also, can you convert some of that recipe to American conversions… Cant wait to try it!


  5. Amanda says:

    Convinced! Must try making my own granola and will be using this recipe!

  6. Kerrin says:

    mayssam, who else do I know obsessed with granola like me ?! YOU ! And you know what I am waiting for for *my* next batch — YOUR recipe with tahini and/or maple sugar ! Yay for all of our shared sweet obsessions =)

    KugelDad, YAY ! Your bday box arrived perfectly on time (thank you Jeff !). Today’s the day – HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD ! Enjoy your birthday bowls of granola for breakfast. And maybe some other surprises along the way too…

    Mom, of course you remember ! And lucky you – dad is sharing it ?? 😉

    Sam, where do you think I got the idea for the title of this post ?! From my favorite blog in Charleston of course: http://organizedobsessed.blogspot.com/ !! Definitely let me know if you find Big Sky Granola by you. Yes, of course I’ll convert the recipe, and you and your little helpers shall be making this soon…

    Amanda, yes !! Totally try it and let me know what you think. Beats birchermüesli too, haha !

  7. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    Get out of town? You found a place that had closed, but now re-opened? That’s fate. And just in time for your dad’s birthday? More fate. (Happy Birthday to Kugel Pappa!!!)

    I was talking to hubby about granola the other day in fact, and said, “you know who L-O-V-E-S granola?” He looked at me blankly. And I proceeded to confidently state, “Kerrin!”

    And here we are. Proof, yet again.

    Funny, I’ve only ever made granola when living in Boston and that absolutely included chocolate as well as only used maple syrup, too. I did include lots of lovely dried fruit. I do enjoy a little sultana and apricot action. But I never included seeds. Only nuts as the other texture. Must try that. And with the zippy salt, too. Great idea. So you know what? I’m going to try this. Yes indeedy!

    Oh, and I ate mine straight from the jar, too. Spooned it out right into my mouth. Like I was eating a jar of Nutella!

  8. Deeba says:

    Granola lovers of the world unite! Another great recipe to try…first to get my hands on some good quality genuine maple syrup. Thanks for the mention Kerrin…our granola gets over way to quick too.

  9. Sarah, Maison Cupcake says:

    That looks fabulous, you are really tempting me with those chopped up bits of chocolate at this time in the morning…

  10. Kerrin says:

    Julia, definitely fate to have found Big Sky again, best birthday breakfast for my dad ever ! The bakery closed in Raleigh but I didn’t know it was actually from Alabama, nor could we even remember the name of it ! Hence my difficulty finding them ! 😉 You sure do know all my sweet faves ! Can’t wait for you to tell me how you like this granola… hope Mr Mélanger likes it too !

    Deeba, YES – granola lovers of the world unite, I love it ! =)

    Sarah, thanks ! Nothing wrong with a little chocolate in the morning. Makes for a wholesome breakfast in granola… healthier than a pain au chocolat 😉

  11. Juls @ Juls' Kitchen says:

    large oats ?
    mixed nuts ?
    mixed seeds ?
    apple sauce x (I have to find it…)
    dark chocolate ? (of course)
    light brown sugar ?
    maple syrup ?
    Maldon salt ?
    fleur de sel ?

    I’m going to bake it soon!

  12. Juls @ Juls' Kitchen says:

    the ? was supposed to be an affirmative sign! 😛

  13. KugelDad says:

    Oh ok, i’ll share my bday granola with KugelMom 🙂

  14. valentina says:

    This is a fabulous post. So much fun to read. I nearly ‘felt’ obessessed with granola myself after reading it. That’s how much I emphathised with it.Why without dried fruit now? I once bought a lovely bag of granola at Borough market hat had hints of ginger. There was a time when i used to make my own but it did not last that long. I do however favour no dried fruit. And oh please do not give me anything with those weird ‘dehydrated’ fruit that look like ET on a bad day. I’m obsessed with porridge, the milk style porridge. I do add diffferent things to it every time. Love the thing. pipping hot. in the morning. Before I grab my coffee. I just feel happy when I have it. It’s like you and your granola – I think.

  15. valentina says:

    sorry but there were far too many ‘s’ in my post. before I could remove any excess it got submitted.; o (

  16. Meister @ The Nervous Cook says:

    I’m more of a muesli girl myself, but boy do you make regular ol’ baked granola sound delicious. I might have to take a break from the raw stuff and get in on a little more toasted nut action!

    (I also *love* the detail about Big Sky — how funny, the way things come around to find us.)

  17. Kerrin says:

    Giulia, I tried to give you check marks here and they showed up as ??? too 🙁 But what matters is that you’ve got everything ! 🙂 Let me know what you think when you make it for sure !

    KugelDad, that’s very nice of you. But um, I don’t think you really have a choice. If only you could share some with your daughter too…

    valentina, muito obrigada ! I’ll have to get you to try granola one morning instead of your porridge. And I’m with you, it’s so much better when super hot. As for the dried fruit – I actually LOVE dried fruit, but only when it’s made without sugar or sulfur or anything, just natural – and not looking like E.T. either, haha ! So I eat dried fruit all the time – dates, figs, papaya, apricots, pineapple… just not in my granola. 🙂

    Meister, thanks ! Totally go for the toasted nut action, all the way ! I love müesli too, it’s the Swiss Germans’ favorite thing to eat here – birchermüesli. But when you bake this granola, you’ll see why I prefer to use the oven… enjoy and definitely let me know what you think !

  18. Ilana says:

    wow! yet another thing for me to be impressed with! sounds scrumptious!

  19. Caroline says:

    Incroyable. I was just looking for a Granola recipe since I actually just discovered Granola a few weeks ago (I know, but I am French). And was browsing recipes without being able to really know which one to choose…. Now, I know !! Merci Kerrin. Bises de Londres.

  20. Jeanne @ CookSister! says:

    Oh my word… :o) Chocolate and fleur de sel for breakfast?? Life doesn’t get much better…! One of my clearest memories of you is going ga-ga over the fab granola at the Hempel Hotel – you wear your granola love on your sleeve for sure!! need to pop my granola cherry (so to speak!!) and make some…

  21. Kerrin says:

    Ilana, thanks ! It *is* scrumptious and I know you have a little helper in the kitchen who will love this too – just minus all those nuts for him ! Make it with oats and seeds and dried fruit instead, will still be yummy.

    Caroline, c’est marrant ça ! Et parfait ! Alors, tu as fait ce granola ? Je comprends que tu ne connaissais pas – “Granola” pour mon mari (français aussi) était plutôt les biscuits durs de LU, comme les Digestives à Londres. Essaye cette recette et dis-moi ce que tu en penses. Régale-toi surtout !! 🙂 Et merci pour le commentaire.

    Jeanne, haha ! Oh my word is right ! Yes chocolate and fleur de sel for breakfast, do it ! Just be sure to report back after the damage is done. You may be as ga-ga as I was at the Hempel. And how right you are, that was super good ! How many bowls did I have…?! 😉

  22. Yeye says:

    Funny you happen to write a story on Granola. Because my wife is also completely, but really really completely obsessed with Granola!!! Last week-end, I happen to finish (by mistake) her box of Granola that she had made herself too. And when she found out, you can’t imagine where her emotions went. I felt literally that I had swallowed her engagement ring! Not even kidding. Anyway, thanks for making me understand somehow better her extreme disarray. And thanks Kerrin for your beautiful stories, as always …

  23. Karen@Mignardise says:

    We have Big Sky granola here in Maine. I had to stop buying it because I found myself eating the entire bag in one day and it’s not exactly low calorie. But it is amazing.
    Yours sounds pretty delicious too!

  24. Sarah says:

    Das sieht lecker aus!

    xox Sarah

  25. Deborah says:

    The problem with granola is that I’m not eating it in an healthy way! I would eat it all!!!! In once….. And that is really bad for my diet (the one I need to do for my sister’s wedding!).
    But ok…. doesn’t matter: I’ll do one tomorow!!! Looks too good!

  26. Samantha Angela says:

    I did a little blogger food swamp with another blogger from Alabama and she sent me some Big Sky Granola. It was phenomenal! Probably the best granola I’ve tasted.

  27. Kerrin says:

    Yeye, wow, I think your wife may be even more obsessed with granola than I am. Yes, definitely. Thanks for sharing, I just hope she’s still not upset with you. And perhaps she has already made a new batch. But you better not finish *that* one… 😉

    Karen, ooooh Big Sky is up north too ? You lucky duck you ! But I hear ya, I’d eat the whole thing in one fell swoop too, for sure.

    Sarah, das IST lecker !! 🙂

    Deborah, thanks ! And don’t worry, I do the same – it’s just too good, I eat it all ! But think of it this way, it’s still oats and nuts and lots of healthy stuff in there, apple sauce – super healthy, even unsweetened ! Way more nutritious than tons of other snacks out there and even store-bought granola. But as for that diet, um…… [quickly, change subject] congrats to your sister ! haha !

    Samantha, oh how funny ! Such a good idea from that blogger in Alabama – you should show this post to her ! 😉 And I love that idea of a food swap !

  28. Andrea M. says:

    I couldn’t go with granola for breakfast (with a splash of yogurt on top)….however, it’s shamefully AMERICAN style granola. So seeing your post, thank you very much, I’m reminded of this fact and miss Euro-granola so much more. First thing tomorrow — making yours. Looks yummy!

  29. Gera @ Sweets Foods Blog says:

    I’m fond of granola on my breakfast and I try to be healthy as possible, but a little touch of chocolate doesn’t matter LOL 🙂



  30. Red Foodie says:

    Looks delicious and healthy. I am a bit unsatisfied by just looking at the images and recipe. I would like to try it at home.

  31. Kerrin says:

    Andrea, I’m guessing you meant you *could* go with granola for breakfast… and I’m with you – more granola than yogurt all the way. But tell me, what do you mean by “American” style granola ? And hey, today’s the day… enjoy making this Euro-granola, can’t wait to hear what you think ! 🙂

    Gera, me too, I eat super duper healthy. And could not have said it better, dark chocolate doesn’t change that at all. =) Thanks for the fun comment !

    Red Foodie, thanks, it’s definitely both. Hope you’ll try it for sure.

  32. Emma says:

    I’m lovin’ the Vermont maple syrup! After reading your 2008 holiday granola post, I followed suit, making my first batch and giving it as gifts. Since then I have been refining my approach, but unlike you haven’t settled on a favorite recipe. I’ve been using a half honey – half syrup mix, sometimes with a wee bit of oil. But applesauce – ooooh! No need for dried fruit, perhaps.

    So cool that you found that shop again. I’ve never heard of Big Sky granola, although I see from Karen@Mignardise that it must be around me here… I must just be too busy making my own:)

  33. kelleyn says:

    I like the addition of the sea salt. I have been mixing coco powder, chocolate, and coconut into our homemade granola for years, but I think I am going to need to try your concoction. Looks yummy!

  34. Kerrin says:

    Emma, love to hear that you started making granola after that holiday post. Very cool ! And I did settle on a favorite recipe, but remember – it’s been over 10 years ! 😉 And I still love trying new recipes. So when you share yours on your blog, I’ll be making it too ! And do have a look for Big Sky – you’ll have to try their granola too,… for research purposes of course.

    kelleyn, love your ingredients, that sounds excellent. And sounds as addictive as mine too ! 😉 Let me know if you try this recipe here.

  35. Laura @ ASwissAmericanLife says:

    I was just having a conversation with friends about how we needed a recipe for homemade granola – now I’ve found one! Looks delicious!

  36. Lani says:

    I finished all the Big Sky granola, which I totally loved but need more. Nothing will satisfy me but yours….I guess I will just have to look at the photos!

  37. wandering educators says:

    oh, YUM. i love to make granola – can’t wait to try your recipe!! thank you!

  38. Kerrin says:

    Laura, oh how perfect ! Hope you and your friends enjoy this one here !

    Lani, I’m not surprised to hear that the Big Sky granola goes fast – I remember how good it was and that it was hard to make it last ! 😉

    wandering educators, yum indeed ! Do let me know if you try the recipe here, hope you enjoy !

  39. Granola (ya da müsli) dosyas?!! | fitgurme says:

    […] ke?fetti?im (Nazl?’c?m te?ekkürler!) blog MyKugelhopf Kerrin ise gayet detayl? ve resimlerle anlatm??! Üstelik bir de bitter çikolata ilavesi ile […]

  40. A says:

    This looks delicious. I will try it too.
    Just in case, what would you substitute the apple sauce with?

    Thank you!

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