Homemade Granola

When I first started my blog, it was my intention to write about beading, jewelry and other crafts, as well as cooking, recipes and household tips. I’m finally getting around to trying to figure out how to make these work together, so I may have to make some layout changes in the future, but here’s my first food related post!

We have some challenges in our house related to dietary requirements, so I’ve had to adapt my ways of cooking and change my recipes accordingly. With all of the food related issues in today’s day and age, I figure it’s best to share what I’ve learned as it may help someone else. More about our particular needs later…

Today I’m making granola. I ran out last week and it’s been on my priority list, but today it rose to the top in a quick hurry. For lunch I heated up a salmon burger on the stove and fried it too hot, resulting in a smoky and fishy smell in the house. Because of the spring pollen, I limit how much I open the windows so airing the house out wasn’t an option today. The design of our house somehow brings all cooking smells directly upstairs and I wake up at night reliving the day’s foods (not always welcome in the middle of the night), so I decided to try to change tonight’s outcome. Time will tell if it worked. Hopefully it’s the granola I smell and not a combo of the fish and granola!

I love to make my own granola because there are so many ways you can customize it. I started with a couple of recipes and have made my own adjustments along the way. Each time is different depending on the ingredients I have on hand or on my mood. The basic recipe came from allrecipes.com. However, I also include elements of other recipes which I’ll note below and in the recipe.

Homemade Granola

Adapted from allrecipes.com

 Ingredients:

4 cups rolled oats

1 cup wheat germ

1/2 cup flax seed meal (ground flax seed)

1/2 cup brown sugar (light or dark)

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (unsalted)

1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (unsalted)

1/2 cup sliced almonds (unsalted)

1/3 cup chia seeds (optional)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/3 cup canola oil (or extra light tasting olive oil or coconut oil, melted)

1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup or mix of honey and syrup)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or almond extract)

1/2 cup water

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (275 if using a dark colored pan).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, wheat germ, ground flax seed, brown sugar, sunflower seeds, pecans or walnuts, almonds, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, honey or syrup, vanilla extract and water. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, and stir with large spoon until blended. Spread on a non-stick coated cookie sheet (with sides) or a similar sized pan (at least 9×13 in.). If pan is not non-stick, spray it lightly with cooking spray first.
  4. Bake for 1 hour in preheated oven, stirring every 20 minutes, or until toasted. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Freezes well.

Here’s where I change things up a bit.

Rolled oats – I’ve seen recipes that call for quick cook oats, old fashioned oats or a combination of the two. Whatever you have on hand is fine.

Wheat germ – I use a toasted wheat germ.

Sunflower seeds – I haven’t seen a big difference if I use raw or roasted, but I always make sure to use the unsalted variety.

Pecans or walnuts – I use whatever variety of nuts I have on hand – today I used a combination of toasted pecans, almonds and walnuts that I put on my daily cereal. Sometimes I only use one or two of them, but today I didn’t feel like chopping.

Sliced almonds – I find that I like slivered almonds so I try to use them when I have them. I like that extra crunch.

Oil – sometimes I use extra light tasting olive oil in place of the canola oil, but today I tried some melted coconut oil because I’m currently on a coconut oil kick. This should give it a nice coconut flavor.

Honey – it’s also good in combination with maple syrup or even all maple syrup – I’ve had to adapt as I go to make the recipe and suddenly don’t have enough honey. In a pinch I’m sure you could also use corn syrup.

Vanilla extract – almond extract is a good alternative.

Other ideas for add-ins include raw shredded coconut or other nuts prior to baking, or adding in dried fruits (think cherries, cranberries, raisins, etc.) after the granola has cooled. If the dried fruit is a little less than dry, you can just add in a sprinkle when the time comes to eat your granola. I like to add it separately so sometimes I can have it plain and other times I can have it with the fruit.

If you add in several dry ingredients, remember to bump up the amount of liquids a little so everything gets coated.

I find that the granola toasts more evenly if I bake it on a rimmed cookie sheet instead of the smaller baking pans originally suggested in the recipe.

Granola stores well in the freezer! I keep it in the freezer in a sealed container and scoop out what I need each time. I love to mix it with fruit and Greek yogurt, but it’s also a great ice cream topper, morning breakfast cereal, addition to your usual breakfast cereal or snack by itself.

The finished product - browned nicely and smelling wonderful!

I’d love to know what other ideas you have for making your own granola, and if you try it, please let me know your thoughts!

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