For a good chunk of my life I avoided granola as much as possible, finding the store-bought stuff either bland and flavorless or overly flavored and cloying. In college, though, a friend passed along her versatile recipe for a good homemade batch. Now, I almost always keep some around, and have gotten family and friends hooked on this recipe, too.
The recipe is flexible enough to accommodate anything you have on hand; with so many different possible substitutions and combinations (such as ginger cardamom, citrus almond, honeyed pecan, or cinnamon raisin), it won't get boring. It takes only about 5 minutes of hands-on time to make a batch. I hope you like it!
-5 cups rolled oats
-2 cups mixed nuts and seeds (anything you have on hand - try a combination of crushed pecans, walnut pieces, slivered almonds, pepitas, sunflower seeds, or sesame seeds)
-A variety of spices (one or more of cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and cloves, or anything else you think would be good)
-1/3 cup oil (olive, canola, grapeseed, or another oil of your choice)
-2/3 cup liquid sweetener (molasses, applesauce, maple syrup, or honey - pick a combination that matches the ferocity your sweet tooth)
-Splash of vanilla extract
-1 cup dried fruit (optional)
-Preheat your oven to 275 degrees.
-Combine oats, nuts, and seeds in a medium mixing bowl. Add spices until the mixture smells strongly fragrant when you bend close to the bowl. Mix.
-In a small bowl, vigorously mix the oil, sweetener, and vanilla to combine, and then immediately pour it into the dry goods. Stir wet and dry goods together until thoroughly mixed.
-Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes, until the mixture no longer feels wet. Add dried fruit, if you’d like. Once cool, pour into an airtight container to store.
These days, I'm eating mine with apples, pears, and almond milk. Though it works well as a filling, easy breakfast, I often turn to it for a late night treat as well. It might be a little irresistible, but hey, it's just granola!
Do you have an all-time favorite granola? Or any stellar flavor combinations I should try?