Granola Your Way

Making your own granola is much less expensive than buying it. Choose your favorite nuts, seeds, and dried fruits, and combine them in any way that strikes your fancy. Chowhounds add cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, dried blueberries, persimmons, apples, pears, and apricots, among other things.

Granola is pretty straightforward to make: Mix up the dry ingredients (oats, nuts, seeds, etc.), and the wet (liquid sweeteners like honey or maple syrup, oil if called for, etc.), combine them, and bake until everything’s toasty, being careful so the nuts and seeds do not overbrown. It’s best to add dried fruit after the granola’s been baked, or it will become leatherlike.

Although granola is generally made with old-fashioned (not quick-cooking) rolled oats, goodhealthgourmet says if you favor granola that stays crunchy after sitting in milk for a while, you might try making it with steel-cut oats, which get a really crunchy and roasted texture when baked—just bake your granola at a very low temperature for a long time, around 250°F for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

This is a good blueprint recipe, explaining technique and giving amounts, while leaving the choice of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits up to you. oakjoan, who has been making this granola and eating it almost daily for a year, says, “With or without bananas and yoghurt or milk, this is really good stuff.”

ArikaDawn recommends this Cherry, Almond, and Cinnamon Granola, though she doubles the cinnamon and increases the almonds.

Katie Nell loves her grandmother’s recipe:

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Toss together in a large bowl:
8 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups coconut
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup peanuts
1 cup shelled sunflower seeds

1 cup pecan or walnut pieces
1/2 cup brown sugar

Heat together in a saucepan, stirring until well combined:
1 1/2 cups honey
1 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons vanilla
Dash cinnamon
Dash nutmeg

Pour honey mixture over dry ingredients and stir to coat well. Oil rimmed baking pans and fill 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Cool in pans and store in an airtight container.

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