Before we were married, my husband subsisted solely on rice and granola. Mostly granola. The employees in the bulk section of the local grocery store greeted him with calls of, “Hi, granola guy!” as he scooped the stuff into bulging sacks, leaving with a weekly ration of approximately ten pounds.
When we were married, J continued to begin each day with a huge bowl of granola. “You know that’s like five servings,” I’d tell him, “Whatever fiber is in there doesn’t make up for all the fat and sugar.” We’re trying to eat better, to find that magical balance of not getting fat while not exercising much, either (a pipe dream, perhaps…).
I had never thought of making homemade granola until my bi-annual visit with my best friend. Her mother, who can make culinary gold out of straw, presented me with a tub of homemade granola. She’d received the recipe from a friend, and praised its simplicity and adaptability. It was also relatively low in fat, gluten-free, and could be made without refined sugars. I brought it home to J and he gave it his seal of approval. “Can I commission her to make me a few batches every week?” he asked. She was kind enough to pass along the recipe, and I’ve taken it upon myself to keep up with J’s granola munching habits. He was skeptical at first. “You know, the grocery store can hardly keep enough in stock. I don’t think you’ll be able to make it fast enough.”
We’re on week two of only homemade granola in this house, and thus far it’s been great fun. You can use honey, agave, or simple syrup for sweetener; almonds, pecans, or walnuts; and finish it with raisins, unsweetened flaked coconut, or other dried fruit. I’ve even made peanut butter granola and banana nut granola. Note that the base recipe is formulated to use honey, which is the most viscous of the sweeteners and produces sweet, golden results. Agave and simple syrup produce a very light-colored, crisper granola that takes a bit longer to cook becuse there is more water to evaporate. Have fun experimenting with different sweeteners, nuts, dried fruit, and spices.
- 4 c. certified gluten-free oats*
- 1 c. chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc.)
- 1/2 c. sunflower seeds
- 3 Tbsp. whole flaxseed
- 1/4 c. pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. cinnamon, optional
- 1/3 c. canola oil
- 1/2 c. liquid sweetener (honey, agave, simple syrup, or even a flavored coffee syrup. We like hazelnut)
- 1 c. dried fruit (apricots, raisins, chopped dates, unsweetened flaked coconut, cranberries, etc.)
- Preheat oven to 325F. Line a jellyroll pan with a Silpat or oiled parchment and set aside.
- Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl with your wooden spoon.
- Whisk canola oil and sweetener together in a measuring cup until homogenized. Pour over dry ingredients and mix until honey-oil mixture is evenly incorporated. Spoon onto prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
- Bake for 30 minutes (or a bit longer if you are using agave or simple syrup), stirring every 10 minutes to prevent burnt edges and ensure that the granola toasts evenly. Granola will crisp up as it cools--don't worry if it still seems a bit damp when you remove it from the oven.
- Allow to cool completely in the pan. Stir occasionally during cooling to prevent granola from steaming itself or cooling in one big lump. Once cool, mix in dried fruit of your choice.
- Store at room temperature in an airtight container. It keeps for a few weeks at room temperature.