If I didn’t have a houseful of people to cook for, I swear that I would live on homemade granola and soy yogurt, with some homemade pizza thrown in every now and then for good measure.
Although there are loads of different kinds of granolas available in the grocery stores, homemade granola is simple to make, and once you’ve tasted it fresh from the oven you’ll never go back to store-bought.
And although there are loads of specific granola recipes available, I always come back to my own improvisational recipe. It allows me to use all my favorite ingredients, or just what I happen to have on hand, and it always comes out perfectly.
- 3 cups oats. I have used every kind of oats, from steel-cut to instant, in my homemade granola. Although each kind of oat has a different texture in the finished granola, every kind of oat does work in the recipe.
- 3 cups nuts and/or seeds. You can use any kind of nut or seed that you want, in any combination, up to three cups. My favorites are sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chopped cashews, and slivered almonds.
- 3 cups dried fruit. I recommend that at least one cup consist of shredded coconut, but dried cranberries and blueberries are my other favorites. Here’s where you can really change the flavor of your granola–dried mango and pineapple, for instance, will make your granola taste entirely different from a granola in which you’ve included dried apples and dates.
- around 1/4 granulated sugar (the same as you used in your snow ice cream), and 1/4 cup liquid sugar. You can use brown sugar or turbinado sugar here, or honey or maple syrup for the liquid sugar. The sweetness of the granola is really a matter of taste, so feel free to add to or subtract from these amounts, as long as you keep the ratio of granulated to liquid sugar even.
- 1/4 cup oil. You’ll likely want to choose a neutral-tasting vegetable oil here, although coconut oil or another specialty oil could be fun.
- around 1 teaspoon salt. An entire teaspoon of salt will give you some sweet/salty bites, but if you prefer your granola to be simply sweet, then put in only 1/2 teaspoon of salt, just enough to bring out the flavor of the other ingredients.
Spread the uncooked granola out in a thin layer onto a greased cookie sheet, and bake it at 250 degrees, stirring it every 15 minutes until it’s brown and toasted.
Once your granola is cooked, you can sprinkle on spices such as cinnamon or ginger, or let it cool to room temperature and mix in chocolate, peanut butter, or white chocolate chips.
Your granola will keep well in a pretty jar on a kitchen shelf, and makes a wonderful gift for a housewarming or a new baby when put into a Mason jar and given a matching gift tag and label.
What are your favorite granola ingredients?