We eat a fair amount of granola. I have been making granola since the 70's (do tell!) lol, and have as many recipes as I do chickens. lol If your family is a cereal eating bunch, making the transition from commercial boxes to home made can be a satisfying, healthy and economical move for you. Not to mention the fact (and this is big for me) you know exactly what's in it. NO fillers (sawdust?--seriously). NO high fructose corn syrup. No chemical additives. No empty calories at all.
This is the list of ingredients to make a basic granola:
8 cups rolled oats. (not quick-old fashioned)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup barley malt syrup (optional--I have it, so I use it)
3/4 cup honey
1 cup oil (I use coconut, but any vegetable oil will do)
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. vanilla
[ Dried fruits and nuts, coconut, sesame seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds (preferably raw), raisins...whatever your family likes best. I dry a lot of my own fruits and use those in my granola and makes it even less expensive to make. As you can see by the ingredients, it isn't costly. This recipe make a big gallon jar of granola.]
The first step in making granola is to toast the oats. This takes away the raw taste and improves the texture of the cereal. I spread the oats out in an enamelware roaster pan I have (12x16) and put them into a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Be careful not to scorch them.
(OOPS. Looks like this time I used the big baking sheet. It's too shallow and makes it hard to stir them about, but it was already out with some parchment paper on it, so I used it. lol)
Once the oats are toasted nicely, you want to get out a medium sized saucepan and mix together the next 6 ingredients on the list. (Hint--if you put the oil into your measuring cup before the honey or BMS, the sticky stuff will come out effortlessly!) Cook over a low flame, stirring to dissolve all the ingredients. While this is cooking, assemble your dried fruits and nuts...I often use a combination of nuts, like walnuts, peanuts and almonds. Depends on what I have on hand. You can put in coconut if you like that. Put in whatever seeds you like into the oats mixture. DO NOT PUT THE DRIED FRUITS INTO THE MIX YET.
When your pan of goo is completely dissolved and mixed, pour it over the oats mixture and using a large wooden spoon or spatula, mix thoroughly. You want to coat all the oats completely with the hot mixture. Next, we're going to put this into a 250 degree oven to toast and dry out the mix. This part of the process will take about an hour or so. You want to get in there and mix and stir it about every 15 minutes, so that it doesn't burn.
Now, after it's all golden and yummy looking, add the dried fruits you chose and mix it up again. Let it cool before putting it into a one gallon container. And there you have it. A healthy nutritious breakfast that's quick to fix on busy mornings, and makes a great snack too. We eat it with milk or mixed with yogurt--both equally good. The Irishman and I both are a little lactose intolerant, so we don't use much dairy in this house. I have found a really good organic soy yogurt and we have Rice Dream rice milk. If you want a hot breakfast, all you have to do is pour your milk over it and stick it in the microwave for a minute or so.
One thing about this hearty treat--It doesn't take much of it to fill you up, A cup of granola is about all my hardworking Irishman can eat and I eat a little less than that usually. Satisfying, filling, good for you..
It doesn't get any better than that!