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Granola Takes a Hint from a Classic Fall Cookie

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Of all the recipes to master, granola should be top of your list. Along with being ridiculously simple, it's such an endlessly customizable food. Rather than hope you stumble upon a packaged variety that has all the elements you like (from nuts to sweeteners to dried fruits), make your own and it'll be perfect every time. Homemade granola is easy to tweak: Make it saltier, or sweeter, or add cashews or extra coconut.

Photo by Posie Harwood

Once you've discovered the joys of making your own granola, you will feel like a successful adult. Oh wait, just kidding, I can't promise this will help you there! But it will be a milestone. And from there, you can move on to experimenting with the basic template. First up: gingersnap granola.

As a lover of ginger and spice, I've long considered the chewy-yet-crunchy gingersnap cookie to be one of the best fall desserts. Redolent of molasses and the earthy sweetness of brown sugar, the gingersnap is a cold-weather comfort. Today's recipe transforms the flavors of a gingersnap into granola, so you can basically start your day by eating a cookie.

Ginger, cinnamon, and a touch of cardamom give this granola its spiciness. You can add even more spice if you prefer the flavors to be heightened. Molasses and brown sugar add the characteristic robust sweetness of a gingersnap; there's a tablespoon of maple syrup, too, which helps sweeten the granola without adding too much stickiness, as molasses is wont to do. Then there's a generous pinch of salt to balance out the sweetness.

Photo by Posie Harwood

You'll notice an unusual ingredient in the recipe: rice flour. When I was researching and testing the recipe, I looked at bulk granolas in my local grocery store and Whole Foods. Many of them include rice flour, which seemed curious to me. I tested it with and without, and it seems to help make the granola more crisp, with a nicer snap and texture. Feel free to leave it out: It won't make a huge difference, but I like the effect of it.

I've also added almonds to to bulk up the cereal into something heartier for the start of the day. You can leave them out, or substitute another nut like pecans or cashews. But don't skip the crystallized ginger at the end! The pleasant chewiness and spiciness it brings to the granola helps evoke the feeling of biting into a gingersnap. And that, I'll declare, is an essential fall moment.

Gingersnap Granola

Gingersnap Granola

Posie (Harwood) Brien Posie (Harwood) Brien
Makes about 4 cups
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (ideally Vietnamese)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup sliced or slivered almonds
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 7 tablespoons oil (vegetable or olive work well)
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 cup finely diced crystallized ginger
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Tags: Spice, Breakfast