[Looking for fresh ideas for things to write about, I came across a suggestion to “write a how-to about something you do well.” I found that idea kind of inspiring, and immediately wrote out a list of topics. I don’t profess to be an expert, but there are a few areas where I am quite competent. Not wanting to look like a know-it-all, I’ll spread these “How-To” blogs out over several months, to fill in when I don’t have any other topic. Happy Learning!]
Now, I understand, you may think your own granola is the best. Or a granola you’ve found at some local bakery or coffee shop. There are many great choices out there, and I’ve enjoyed several of them. The granola they offer at The Grain Train in Petoskey is wonderful! However, looking at controlling both cost and sugar content, I’ve been making my own granola for quite a while. I gave my daughter, Kate a batch several years ago. Having a bowl of it with milk, Kate nodded seriously at her granddaughter and said, “Grandma Cindy makes the best granola! So, that’s where it gets its name. My recipe is “the best” granola. A title, not a judgment.
But, if you’d like to try it, to see for yourself, my recipe is simple. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Spray a large sheet pan with oil (I use avocado oil, but Pam or any similar spray will work just fine). In a large mixing bowl, combine:
- 8 cups of old fashioned rolled oats
- 4 cups of other stuff. You can swap these ingredients out, based on what you have on hand, or on your particular preferences. My list is pretty unwavering: 1 cup pepitas; 1 cup slivered almonds; 1/2 cup chopped walnuts; 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut; 1/2 cup sunflower nuts; 1/4 cup whole flax seeds; 1/4 cup hemp seeds. If you don’t have, or don’t like, some of these ingredients, other ideas include: crispy rice cereal, puffed wheat or puffed rice, or basically any low-sugar, fairly natural, minimally processed cereal, and any nuts that you prefer.
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup real maple syrup. Or honey. Or molasses. But maple syrup is my favorite.
- 1/4 cup oil. For this, I use MCT oil, which is a healthy coconut oil in liquid form. Note, however, that it has a smoke point of 320 degrees, so keep your oven temperature at 300.
Mix all ingredients together, and spread onto the prepared pan. This recipe makes a “loose” granola, without large clusters. If you prefer a chunkier granola, add about a quarter cup of water to the pan, and squeeze the ingredients together to form clumps. Bake in a slow oven for two to three hours, stirring occasionally, until all ingredients are toasted and golden brown. Remove from oven. If you choose to add raisins or other dried fruit, now is the time, while everything is still warm. I like a combination of zante currants and dried cranberries. A cup or less of dried fruit is plenty.
For a crisp, slightly sweet topping for anything from salads to hot cereal to ice cream, leave the oatmeal out of this recipe, and reduce the amount of brown sugar, maple syrup and oil to one tablespoon each. Bake just the same.
There you have it, my “best” granola recipe, and one variation. The rest is up to you. I’d love to hear your granola ideas!