Granola

Making your own granola is simple.  I think this basic granola tastes better than just about any granola you can buy at the store.  Once you’ve mastered this recipe, personalize it with your own flair.  Ideas for variations and additions below.

8 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 ½ cups raw slivered almonds
½ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup vegetable oil
½ cup honey
½ tsp sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon

Put all ingredients in a big bowl and thoroughly mix together.  Turn out the mixture onto two rimmed, parchment lined baking sheets, and lightly press the contents onto the pan. Bake the pans of granola for 30 minutes at 325 degrees, switching upper and lower pans and rotating pans ½ way through baking time for even browning.  Do not stir the baking granola.  After the granola looks nicely toasted, light brown and fragrant, cool the granola undisturbed in the pans.  When it’s cool, store the nice, sweet chunky granola in an air-tight container.  Makes an ideal breakfast served with milk or yogurt and fresh fruit. Serving size is small — ½ cup, as it’s a dense cereal.  It’s also great on ice cream for dessert.

Variations:  Get your crunchy groove on and make it YOUR granola!

Add before baking, mix into the unbaked granola mixture one or more of the following: unsweetened flaked coconut, sesame seeds, raw cashews, raw hazelnuts, raw sunflower seeds, raw pecans, puffed whole corn, puffed kamut, puffed brown rice, wheat germ, different spices.

Add after baking, to cooled granola: golden raisins, currants, dried fruit, banana chips, Craisins

Walnuts tend to toast quickly, so if you like walnuts, add them ½ way through baking.

Try substituting a rolled multi-grain mix for all or part of the oats

For more or less sweetness, adjust the amount of brown sugar

For more or less chunkiness, adjust the amount of honey.  The sticky moisture in honey is what makes the granola cluster together. Try substituting pure maple syrup or agave syrup for all or part of the honey.

Apple Pie Granola:  Start with basic recipe, and include ½ tsp. cloves before baking.  Add 1 ½ cups diced dried apple and ½ cup currants to cooled granola.

Tropical Crunch Granola:  Start with basic recipe, but omit cinnamon.  Before baking add 1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut and 1 cup raw cashews.  Add 1 cup diced dried mango and ½ cup diced dried pineapple to cooled granola.

Berry Crisp Granola:  Start with basic recipe, substituting 3 cups puffed brown rice for 2 cups of oats.  Add 2 cups freeze dried strawberries and 1 cup dried blueberries to cooled granola.

Sesame Sophisticate Granola:  Start with basic recipe, adding 1 ½ cups sesame seeds before baking.  Add 1 cup golden raisins to cooled granola.

Reply to this post with your awesome creative granola combo.  Let your creativity and your taste buds guide you.

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