Crispy, crunchy ginger granola that tastes like gingersnaps! Pair bowls with gingerbread lattes and you'll be in ginger breakfast heaven.
Soft, chewy cookies are usually a good thing in my book. Chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, ginger molasses – I like them tender and toothsome.
But granola is a different matter. It should be a crisp and crunchy foil for soft fruit and creamy yogurt. Chewy granola generally means that something has gone terribly wrong.
I learned this a few weeks ago, when I tried to add molasses and candied ginger to a batch of this ginger granola in order to mimic the flavor of my favorite spice cookie.
At first, I thought I had just under-baked it. Granola is still soft when warm, so I usually judge its crispness by its golden hue. But the oats turned so dark from the molasses that it was impossible to tell whether it was fully baked or not; it looked burnt long before it was finished.
I left it in the oven on various heat settings and for varying lengths of time in increasingly desperate attempts to dry it out, but after each stint and a thorough bout of cooling, it remained resolutely damp and chewy.
I realized that the moisture must be due to the molasses, which is hygroscopic, meaning that it grabs moisture molecules from the air. I learned this term from a Cook's Illustrated article on how to make your cookies chewy, which called for adding lots of brown sugar – good for cookies; for granola, not so much.
At the time, we were also having freakish, East Coast-esque summer humidity, hence there was much atmospheric moisture to be grabbed.
I banished the moist granola to a jar, which remained untouched for weeks, and I felt a twinge of failure every time I passed by it. I finally put it out of its misery and into the compost before our departure for a week-long road trip to Portland (where we are now).
For my second try, I left out the molasses in favor of maple syrup, which, despite its high water content, seems to produce the crispest granola. (Honey is hygroscopic, too.) I also use Alter Eco's muscobado sugar. Though it retainins its natural molasses, as well as trace minerals and tons of flavor, it doesn't seem to affect the texture of the finished granola negatively. (The original recipe called for brown sugar, which also doesn't have enough molasses to cause problems.)
As an added precaution, I left out the crystallized ginger from the start, drying it out in a low oven and stirring it into the finished granola instead. This granola stays bone-dry and crisp, even after several weeks in a jar.
For batch #3, I upped all the spices and the vanilla until it tasted like gingersnap cookies kissed with ginger and judicious amounts of cinnamon, allspice and cloves. The crystallized ginger adds some extra zip and zing, and whole almonds and pecans add crunch to the already crispy clusters of oats. This ginger granola reminds me of gingersnaps crossed with crispy oatmeal cookies. (Note to self: make those.)
I use my preferred granola baking method wherein the granola is sandwiched between two rimmed baking sheets lined with parchment paper. The usual stirring while baking isn't necessary, and you are left with a big sheet of crispy granola that can be broken up into the clumps and clusters of your choosing.
We've been sprinkling this gingersnap granola over fresh plums and ground cherries, the latter which I scored from my dear friend Amelia. Also called cape gooseberries, though unrelated to real gooseberries, ground cherries are a late-summer fruit in the tomato family (think papery-husked tomatillos). They taste sweet, mildly acidic, and vaguely tropical. My first bite of one brought me back to the starfruit we used to buy occasionally as a treat when I was younger. Ripe pears would be lovely here, too, as would dried cranberries.
So for now, I'm content with this spicy-crisp granola. But at least if I want to make chewy granola bars in the future, I'll know what to do.
More Granola Recipes
- Pumpkin Spice Granola
- Rum-Kissed Coconut Granola
- Maple Bourbon Brown Butter Pecan Granola
- Honey Cardamom Granola
- Black Sesame Granola
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola
More Ginger Recipes
- Gingerbread Lattes (vegan)
- Gluten-Free Ginger Molasses Cookies
- Gluten-Free Chocolate Ginger Cookies
- Ginger Ice Cream
MORE GLUTEN-FREE BREAKFAST RECIPES
- Gluten-Free Buttermilk Pancakes (DF, vegan & low-fodmap options)
- Almond Flour Crepes (paleo)
- Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowls
- Gluten-Free Breakfast Bars
- Banana Buckwheat Pancakes
*Bojon appétit! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this ginger granola recipe, I’d love to know. Leave a comment and rating below, and tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet.*
Gingersnap GranolaPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (8 ounces)
- 1/2 cup raw pecan halves (2 ounces)
- 1/2 cup whole, raw almonds (2 ounces)
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons unrefined sugar (such as Alter Eco's muscobado) or light brown sugar (2 ounces)
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3 ounces)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (I use grade B) (2 ounces)
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup crystallized ginger, in 1/4" dice (2 ounces)
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 300º. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and have a second rimmed baking sheet and piece of parchment paper at the ready.
- In a large bowl, stir together the oats, pecans, almonds, unrefined sugar, and spices.
- In a small saucepan, combine the butter, maple syrup and salt. Melt over medium heat until the oil is liquified; simmer for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, and stir in the vanilla. Pour this mixture over the oat mixture, making sure to scrape out the salt that likes to stick to the bottom of the pot. Stir the granola well to coat it with the oil and to distribute the salt evenly.
- Scrape the granola onto the lined baking sheet and spread it into a very even layer with the edges a touch thicker than the center; this will ensure even baking. Top the granola with the other sheet of parchment paper, then the other rimmed baking sheet, right-side-up, making a granola sandwich.
- Bake the granola until it is deeply golden all over, 35-45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. (You'll need to peek under the parchment to check on it.) It will still be soft, but should crisp up as it cools.
- To ensure extra crispness, remove the top baking sheet. Scatter the diced candied ginger over the top piece of parchment paper, and return the granola to the warm, turned-off oven. Let sit for a few hours, or up to overnight, to dry out the ginger a bit. (If the granola isn't shatteringly crisp when cool, break it up and return it to a low (200ºF) oven for 10-20 minutes, then cool again and check for crispness.)
- Store the granola in an airtight container at room temperature. It will keep well for at least a month.
gluten-free. To make this vegan, try substituting 1/4 cup (2 ounces) unrefined coconut oil. I use a unique baking technique here of sandwiching the oat mixture between two rimmed baking sheets lined with parchment paper, which makes the usual stirring-while-baking unnecessary. Leaving it alone means you end up with big shards that can be crumbled into chunks and clumps. As an extra precaution against moisture, I dry out my candied ginger and the granola overnight in a gas oven with the pilot light on. I like this granola sprinkled over a bowl of plain yogurt and fresh fruit – especially plums, peaches, and/or ground cherries, though ripe pears make an excellent match with ginger, too. This recipe is extra-easy if you weigh the ingredients into a bowl and pan - no sticky measuring cups. All ounce measurements here are by weight. Nutritional values are based on one of twelve servings.
I have had a few granola recipes turn out far too chewy for my taste. I like mine crisp crisp crisp! This gingersnap granola sounds delicious. Thank you for sharing it!
Yes yes, crisp crisp crisp! Thanks, Monet! :)
I might have to make this tomorrow! I've never baked granola sandwiched in two sheet pans either - looking forward to clumpy, gingery granola all for me!
Yay! Once I learned about the sheet pan sandwich, I've never gone back. Let me know how you like it!
This looks so inviting! Gingered Fall granola is on my list now. Interesting technique, too : )
Aw, thank you for the kind words! :)
Jen @ Jens Favorite Cookies says
I never thought to sandwich the granola, great idea! I need to try that.
Totally - it works amazing well!
Amy @ Swiss Miss in the Kitchen says
The perfect fall granola!! Yum! Looks absolutely delicious Alanna :) (as always ;)
Aw! Thanks Amy, you sweetheart. :)
Asha Shivakumar says
I love granola and look at those pictures, beautiful. The second picture is so so good.
I have to get on this soon.
Thank you, Asha - so sweet. Do it!
I just bought ground cherries at our Seattle farmer's market yesterday, thanks to your photo!
Aw! That makes me so happy, and lucky you to have found them at a market!
I love gingersnaps and crunchy granola, so I am definitely bookmarking this one! Also, I MUST try out the two-baking sheets method for baking the granola.
and I love that you brought some science to the mix with the explanation of hygroscopic. Love that kind of thing!
Yay! Yes, I love that geeky food science stuff. Even my astrophysicist boyfriend didn't know that word - ha!
Mmmm - I make a new batch of granola every Sunday to get me through the week and this one is going to be next up on my list! Also, so glad that I can learn from your mishaps and not use molasses when making granola...I would have thought it was produce the same results as maple syrup (with a more intense flavor, of course).
Totally! I've seen granola recipes that call for molasses, so it's possible that the insane humidity at the time was responsible for the soggy granola, but I wasn't about to repeat that experiment since the maple worked so perfectly. Please let me know how it comes out if you give it a go, Shelly!
This was my first time making granola and it turned out beautifully! So crunchy, sweet, salty, and satisfying. 35 minutes was a little long in my oven, but other than that the recipe was perfect. Thanks for sharing!
That's fantastic, Cynthia - thank you for trying the recipe out! Is there a chance that your oven could run hot? I keep a thermometer in mine, since it tends to run cold. :)
Sowmya Dinavahi says
Gingery granola sounds fantastic :) .. love it
Thanks! I think it's pretty grand. :)
A friend linked this recipe to me. I just made it tonight. Not only does it taste delicious, but the whole house smells amazing. It was so simple to make that even the little ones helped out. Thank you for this fantastic recipe!
Out of all granola recipes I have made (a lot!) this one I love the most because of the kick of ginger and the gigantic clump forming (and easiness of making it) - thank you very, very much!
I'm so glad you like it! Thanks a million for the sweet note. :)
I found you on the typical bird walk that starts at Food52 and leads to awesome sites I might not otherwise have found. YAY for finding you! I love the technique you're using; similarly, I use two cookie sheets but then smoooooosh the bejeebers out of the granola below, remove the top sheet and never stir and let it bake longer than common sense would otherwise dictate, until it's dark and caramelized and not the slightest bit crumbly. THAT SAID, I sadly didn't find this Gingersnap (and what? a BOOZY granola option? Be still my heart!) until after my beloved batch was already in the oven. I'll be making THIS next time and can't wait; I make something granola-y (or Oat Jack-y) for my husband's brief case every week and since gingersnaps are his favorite cookies, this will be a win, I know.
So, here's my question: what are those sweetest little peel-able berry-looking, marigold-colored gems? I live in So. Cal. and, despite the wealth of beautiful produce at our farmer's markets, I've never seen those! What are they? I'm suuuper intrigued!!!
Hi Carissa - so glad you found your way here! I had to do a web search for "Oat Jacks" and now I really want to try them! What recipe do you use? Please let me know if you try either of those granola recipes - they're some of my favorites! Those little fruits are called golden berries or ground cherries or cape gooseberries (though they're not actual gooseberries). They're related to tomatillos but they have a sweet-tart, tropical flavor. Super hard to come by up here in SF too! They're in season this time of year. You may be able to find them at a farmer's market, fancy grocery store, or a latin market.