Low-Sugar Honey and Vanilla Granola

Honey and Cardamom Granola


Fear Conquered: Honey and Cardamom Granola

"I've found a way to use up that jar of ground cardamom," I announce proudly, popping a couple clusters of granola into my mouth.

Boyfriend Javelin, busily sorting through coupons, glances up. "Were you trying to get rid of it or something?" he asks.

"Well," I say, already prepared with my rehearsed answer. "I've had the bottle for over a year now and I've barely touched it. At this rate, it'll take me ten years to use the whole thing." I begin scooping the granola into containers, feeling a wee bit proud of my new cardamom consumption plan.


"So what's in it?" Boyfriend Javelin asks, pausing in mid-snip to watch me shovel granola into the bin. "I mean, besides the cardamom?"

"It's pretty much like the cinnamon one," I say. "There's oats and almonds and cranberries, but I changed the syrup to use more honey and added vanilla and cognac."

Boyfriend Javelin frowns and returns to clipping coupons. "What's the cognac for?" he asks warily.

"It brings out the vanilla," I say, feeling the tiniest bit defensive. About the whole adding alcohol to breakfast food. Because really, who does that? "But I hardly use any," I protest. "And you can't really taste it anyway."


Boyfriend Javelin continues clipping coupons. "It just sounds weird," he says. "It sounds like I should follow it up with a Bloody Mary."

I roll my eyes and scoop up a palmful of granola, then walk it over to him. "Just try it," I say.

Still frowning skeptically, he gingerly picks up a couple pieces. After scrutinizing them carefully, he even more gingerly puts one piece in his mouth and bites down. "They're ok," he says, a little too fast. He swallows dramatically. "But I think I like the cinnamon one better."

"Really?" I ask, genuinely surprised. Because I'm already hooked on the honey, vanilla and cardamom. "You don't like the cardamom?"

"It's not that," he says slowly, chewing on a couple more pieces. "I guess I just like cinnamon."

Granola Dry Ingredients Combined with Syrup

So if you're a cinnamon fiend like Boyfriend Javelin, this may not be your granola. Because the prominent flavors here are honey, vanilla and toasted oats. But personally, I think these flavors are even tastier than my Cinnamon Cranberry Granola. To me, this granola tastes more like granola - and less like spice. And the interplay between honey, vanilla, cardamom and oats is marvelous. In fact, despite Boyfriend Javelin's initial verdict, I've been making this granola every week ever since.

And no complaints from the cinnamon fiend yet.


Photo Tutorial

Syrup Ingredients in Medium Pot
Combine coconut oil, honey, vanilla, salt, ground cardamom and optional cognac in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Boiling Syrup for Granola
Bring the mixture to a foaming boil, then cook for 10 minutes, whisking frequently.

Cooling Syrup for Granola
The syrup will begin to thicken.

Cooled Granola for Syrup
Remove the syrup from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Dry Ingredients Combined for Granola
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine oats, sliced almonds, toasted wheat germ, dried cranberries and flax seed.

Syrup Poured Over Dry Granola Ingredients
Pour the syrup over the dry mixture.

Granola Dry Ingredients Combined with Syrup
Stir to thoroughly coat everything.

Granola Spread Out on Baking Sheets
Divide the granola between two ungreased baking sheets.

Honey and Cardamom Granola
Bake the granola at 275F for 45 minutes, stirring once after 25 minutes. Cool completely before storing in air-tight containers for up to 3 weeks.


Low-Sugar Honey and Vanilla Granola

    by Javelin Warrior
     Prep Time: 20 min
     Cook Time: 45 min

Ingredients (makes 10 cups)
  • 6 Tablespoons refined coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup honey, plus 2 Tablespoons
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cognac (optional)
  • 6 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups sliced almonds
  • 2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 cup toasted wheat germ
  1. Preheat the oven to 275℉
  2. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, whisk together the coconut oil, honey, vanilla, cardamom, salt and optional cognac
  3. Bring the syrup mixture to the boil and cook for 10 minutes, whisking frequently; remove the syrup from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes
  4. In a large bowl, combine together the oats, sliced almonds, cranberries, wheat germ, flax seed and syrup; toss to evenly coat, then spread the granola in an even layer on two ungreased baking sheets
  5. Toast the granola in the oven for 45 minutes, stirring once with a spatula after 25 minutes; cool the granola completely before storing in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks
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Hungry for Tips?
  • Low Sugar: Due to the relatively low amount of sugar, the resulting syrup does not really act as a glue between the other ingredients in the granola. And so this granola does not clump into clusters. I happily sacrifice clusters in favor of less sugar. But that's just me.

    Homemade Cinnamon Cranberry Granola Corner
  • Coconut Oil: There's some thought among certain medical professionals that coconut oil may be better for our bodies than other types of refined oil (such as canola). However, I'm not qualified to provide medical or health advice. So if you would rather use canola oil, the final granola will turn out just about the same.

    Coconut Oil
  • Wheat Germ: Different toasted wheat germs vary in flavor and texture by brand. I've made this granola with two different brands and the final flavor is about the same. So pick whatever brand you like.

    1/2 Cup Toasted Wheat Germ
  • Dried Cranberries: Did you know some companies coat their dried cranberries with oil in order to keep them from clumping? It's true. And that oil is just extra, unnecessary fat and calories. So now I check the ingredient list before buying dried cranberries and stick with oil-free brands.

    1 Cup Dried Cranberries
  • Cognac: I find a splash of cognac enhances the flavor of vanilla, so I often pair the two together when I really want to bring out the vanilla. However, if you feel strange about adding alcohol to a breakfast food, leave it out.

  • I like to add flax seed to my granola for extra protein and crunch. You can find flax seed in many grocery stores or wherever Bob's Red Mill products are sold. If you cannot find flax seed, leave it out as it doesn't really add much in the way of flavor.

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  1. The granola looks really good JW! I love using coconut oil, it's so good for you (well, according to the articles I've read anyway)

  2. Kayle (The Cooking Actress)February 5, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    Heheheee! I do like cinnamon but I like cardamom too (although, like you, I pretty much never use it) and this granola looks SUPER duper tasty!

  3. You know, the 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract has WAY more alcohol in it than the 2 teaspoons of cognac -- the extract is usually 70 proof, the cognac 80 proof (but of course you're using much vanilla). Just something to point out to Boyfriend Javelin. ;-) Anyway, this looks terrific. I'm a cinnamon freak too, but this looks awfully good to me. Thanks.

  4. Looks and sounds totally delicious!

  5. I've read the same thing, Anna. I'm sure that too much of anything is bound to be bad for you, but I figure spreading out the oil over multiple weeks of breakfast granola is a good way to go ;) I'm so glad you enjoyed...

  6. Cardamom is such a unique spice to me. A little bit goes such a long way and it's so distinctive in flavor... And I like cinnamon - I just tired of it ;)

  7. I think I'm a cinnamon fan but not a true freak ;) And excellent point on the vanilla vs cognac alcohol content. i suspect it's more of a "liquor for breakfast" concept than actual fear of the alcohol itself :/

  8. I love the story Mark! I would have jumped up to taste as soon as you said Cognac, I swear I'm not a drunk.:) Cardamom is a great spice I hope you find more uses for it. Great granola recipe, thanks for sharing.

  9. lol I love the flavor of cognac myself but I really love it paired with vanilla. The two just go so well together, I think. And I agree, cardamom is a wonderful spice - I just haven't taken the time to make more recipes featuring it's unique profile...


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