As promised, at long last, the granola recipe. Granola is one of those things that can seem really difficult and intimidating, but really, it's very simple to make, and is almost limitless in the way you can customize it. I've been making this granola off and on for the past 3 years or so, experimenting with different levels of liquid, sweets and oats, and I feel like I've finally found a good base recipe to which I (or you) can add your own personal favorites. I've actually been seeing a lot of 'homemade' granola for sale around Brooklyn lately (Early Bird Granloa is usually on sale at the Brooklyn Flea). But at $8 for a 12oz bag, it's not cheap (disclaimer: I haven't actually tasted their granola). This recipe makes about 24oz, and depending on the quality of ingredients you use, can cost as little as $5.00 to make.
So first, some notes on my methodology that affect the outcome:
- Use thick cut oats - I use Bob's Red Mill organic thick cut rolled oats, so this recipe is formulated I think with the right amount of liquid for this type of oats. It would probably work with regular cut oats (Quaker or another brand), but I wouldn't recommend using quick or instant oatmeal for this recipe.
- You can add your own mix of nuts - I generally use sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and one other kind of nut - usually pecans or walnuts. But really, you could use any kind of raw nut in pretty much any proportion that you like. Make sure you use RAW nuts. The recipe below has a 2:1 oats to nuts ratio, but you could add more nuts if desired. If you add more oats, I would increase the amount of liquid.
- Dried fruit - I also usually make this with dried cranberries, but recently made it with dried cherries, coconut and dried apricots. Just be sure to add the dried fruit AFTER you've cooked the granola or the fruit will be really hard and chewy. I most recently added coconut after I baked it, but next time I might try baking the coconut and see what happens.
- Go organic - I try to use organic ingredients whenever I can, including organic nuts and seeds and dried fruit.
- Sweetness - This recipe doesn't have any refined sugar (unless you use sweetened fruit juice), so if it's not sweet enough for you, either add more maple syrup or add some brown sugar to the dry ingredients. Obviously, if it's too sweet, decrease the amount of either maple syrup or honey, or use entirely unsweetened fruit juice.
- It's not clumpy - This granola doesn't really cluster together - but I like this way. If you want more clustery granola, you could probably add more juice (or other liquid) and stir it less often while baking.
3 cups thick cut rolled oats
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw pepitas
1/2 cup raw peacans
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 t salt
1/3 cup canola oil (plus 1 T for the pan)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 c fruit juice (apple, cranberry or a mix)
2 T honey
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a large, shallow roasting pan with canola oil and set aside. In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients including spices. In a smaller bowl or a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup, mix together all of the liquid ingredients. Tip: If you measure out the oil first and use the same measuring cup, the maple syrup and the honey will slide right out of your measuring cup. Mix all of the liquid ingredients well, then pour over the dry ingredients. Mix well, and pour into the greased roasting pan. Spread evenly across the bottom (ideally it isn't more than an inch or so thick at the bottom of the pan.)
Bake for 45 - 60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, making sure to bring the granola from the edges of the pan to the center so that it all browns evenly. You may need to stir more frequently towards the end of baking, and keep a careful eye on it so that it doesn't burn around the edges.
Granola in the baking pan before going in the oven
Granola after baking