Homemade granola is a completely different animal: fresh and full of flavors that you pick to suit your tastes. Eat it with yogurt for breakfast, as a snack anytime, take it hiking or put it in a pretty box and give to a friend as a gift!
This recipe gives you lots of options to personalize your granola, so read it through well before you start baking. Choose what you like best, and have fun experimenting with various combinations of grains, nuts, fruits and sweeteners.
1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a large bowl, stir together three cups of unflavored rolled oats (not the instant kind) and a quarter teaspoon of salt. You can always add more salt later to suit your tastes.
***Add in other rolled grains if you would like; take the oats down to 2 ½ cups, and add in ½ cup of kamut, brown rice, wheat flakes, rice flakes, quinoa or spelt. You can also throw in some ground flax seeds for an added nutritional boost! ***
3. Add four tablespoons of brown sugar and a teaspoon cinnamon. Mix well.
***Add in nuts! Use ½ cup of pecans, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts and/or pistachios (shelled)***
4. In another bowl, stir together 1/3 cup of honey or maple syrup, whichever you prefer, with 1/4 cup canola oil and a teaspoon of vanilla.
***For peanut butter granola, add in ½ cup of peanut butter! Yum! ***
5. Dump the liquids into the big bowl of oats and stir well, using your hands to make sure everything is coated very evenly.
6. Spread the mixture into a baking sheet thinly and evenly. Stir well after 15 minutes. After another 15 minutes check it – it might be done, however if you prefer darker, crunchier granola, you might want to leave it in a bit longer. But keep your eye on it, and keep stirring it every 10 minutes or so.
7. Take out of the oven and cool completely, stirring occasionally to avoid big clumps- unless you like big clumps.
***Here you can add in fruits: dried cherries, blueberries, pineapple, coconut, apples, dates, apricots, raisins, etc.***
***Or make it a real treat and add in chocolate chips, M&Ms or small chunks of white chocolate. ***
8. Store in an AIRTIGHT container – this is very important- and eat it within two weeks for maximum freshness.