What do the readers of Food & Wine, Food Network, and BuzzFeed have in common? “Everyone, everywhere wants slow cooker recipes,” explains Sarah DiGregorio in an email to Extra Crispy, adding, “but sometimes that content ends up feeling repetitive, revolving around big hunks of meat.” That was the inspiration for her new cookbook Adventures in Slow Cooking: 120 Slow-Cooker Recipes for People Who Love Food, which is full of slow cooker recipes for every meal. And it turns out there are a lot of breakfast dishes you can make in your slow cooker—like granola.
Now, granola might not be an obvious choice to make in a slow cooker. But if you've spent any time on the internet, you'll know it's not a totally foreign idea. “In Pinterest-land, I had seen recipes for slow-cooker snack mixes (like Chex mix), and since granola and snack mix techniques are roughly similar (toasting dry ingredients with oil or butter and seasonings) I wondered if granola might work well in the slow cooker, too,” says DiGregorio.
It did, though she found the key to making this slow cooker granola recipe work is to actually leave the lid open slightly, “to prevent condensation from building up and making the mixture soggy,” she explains. “It also ensures that the ingredients toast very slowly and gently, though you do need to stir every now and then to make sure that everything gets evenly golden.”
Making granola in a slow cooker instead of the oven is a great way to save on energy costs, or just make granola when it’s hot out and you don’t want to turn your kitchen into an inferno. DiGregorio adds, “And if you're forgetful, or need to run out for a bit, a slow cooker granola is more forgiving—it won't burn as quickly as an oven version if it's left to its own devices for a little while.”
The best part? This recipe for slow cooker granola is endlessly customizable. “You can swap out the nut, dried fruit, and spices for your favorites. As long as you keep the basic ratios of oats, oil, nuts and sweetener, it will work perfectly. For instance,” DiGregorio says, “you could do cashews and dried mango instead of the pistachios and apricots. You could go super fall and do hazelnuts, dried apples and cinnamon.”
So go ahead and turn your slow cooker into a granola making machine with this recipe from Adventures in Slow Cooking by Sarah DiGregorio.
Generously grease a 5- to 8-quart slow cooker with the oil. Add the oats, pistachios, and coconut flakes and toss to evenly combine.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the ½ cup oil. Stir in the maple syrup, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the spiced coconut oil to the slow cooker and toss to evenly coat the oat mixture. Set the slow cooker lid ajar, leaving a gap of about 2 inches. (The vent prevents the granola from getting soggy.) Cook the granola on HIGH until well toasted, about 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes so that it doesn’t burn around the edges.
Pour the granola out onto a baking sheet. Toss in the apricots and spread out the mixture evenly. Cool the granola completely to room temperature, then store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.