Crunchy, lightly sweet granola can be found prominently displayed in supermarket cereal aisles for about $3.99 to $5.99 a bag. The cheaper variety contains high fructose corn syrup and the more expensive variety is … well, more expensive! However, I’ve discovered that granola is very easy to make yourself at home.
Associated with hippies and health food stores, granola is a great food for anyone and goes well with yogurt and berries to make a parfait, with milk (cow’s milk, soy, almond, etc.) for a breakfast cereal or even on ice cream. Granola is also great to carry for a mid-morning or afternoon snack.
The base ingredients for granola are rolled-oats and honey or maple syrup, usually nuts and some type or a combination of dried fruit. When it comes to nuts and dried fruits, the options are endless for what you can add to granola.
Nuts used often include pecans, almonds, cashews or peanuts. You will also find seeds used such as pumpkin or sunflower. Dried fruit options include raisins, cranberries, pineapple, grated coconut, apricots, dates, mango and apples.
The recipe below is for a very simple granola with a toasty flavor. I’ve discovered that the key to making good granola is to be sure to stir it every 10 minutes or so as it’s baking. This allows for even cooking. Also, depending on how accurate your oven is, the granola might bake quicker than what the recipe states. If you start to smell a burnt smell, take it out – it’s done.
Toasty Homemade Granola
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup chopped nuts (such as pecans or almonds or a mixture)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup banana chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place the oats, nuts and salt in a large bowl and stir well. Add honey and stir well again (1 – 2 minutes) to combine and evenly incorporate all ingredients. On a non-stick baking sheet, spread the mixture evenly. If you’re not working with a good non-stick sheet, lightly spray the sheet with cooking spray before adding mixture or line with parchment paper.
Bake for 25 minutes stirring the mixture every 10 minutes to ensure even cooking. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Then transfer the toasty granola to a bowl and stir in the raisins and banana chips. Allow to cool completely.
Serve granola with yogurt and fruit to make a breakfast parfait or eat with milk as a breakfast cereal. Granola also goes well with ice cream or eaten alone as a snack.