Everyone has their preferences. Homemade granola lends itself to this truth beautifully.
I’ve been making granola from scratch lately and discovered how easy it is to customize, and how endlessly adaptable it is to substitutions that better suit individual tastes and dietary needs.
It takes no time to make either - 15 minutes of prep time and 35-40 minutes of watchful baking. Your place will smell wonderful.
The ratio to keep in mind when making your own granola is (roughly) 5 parts dry ingredients to 1 part wet. I've done 6 parts to 1 and it works, too. Feel free to gently play with the ratios.
The rest is up to you.
Here’s a recipe to get you started:
3 cups large rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts, or other nut such as almonds or pecans
1/2 cup raw sunflower seed
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup coconut chips or shredded coconut, unsweetened (if not using, add an extra 1/2 cup oats)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup maple syrup, honey, coconut nectar or brown rice syrup
1/2 cup warmed coconut oil or 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil or a combination of both
1 cup dried cranberries, cherries, chopped apricots or raisins (to be added after baking)
Optional: 1/4 cup cocoa nibs or dark chocolate chunks (to be added after baking)
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Mix dry ingredients ingredients in large bowl.
Whisk wet ingredients and add to dry mixture. Combine well.
Use a parchment-lined baking sheet or non-stick roasting pan.
Spread your granola mixture out in an even layer.
Bake, gently stirring every 15 minutes, until granola is golden brown and dry (35 to 40 minutes).
Remove from oven and add dried fruit and cocoa nibs. Wait until the granola is cool before adding chocolate chunks.
Let the whole thing cool completely before transferring to a jar or other airtight container. Should keep up to three weeks.
You can also freeze granola in an airtight container with as little empty space as possible. Freeze no longer than three months for best quality. Let frozen granola sit on the counter overnight before using.
Substitute rolled oats for spelt or quinoa flakes or a combination of the three.
I like sunflower and pumpkin seeds, but you could use chia, flaxseeds or sesame seeds.
Always use raw nuts and seeds.
If the intense flavour of olive oil is not for you, opt for an oil with a more neutral flavour such as grapeseed oil.
One of the secrets to good granola is lower temperature baking. Certainly no higher than 325 F otherwise the risk of things burning increases.
Make sure you add the dried fruit after you remove the granola from the oven. That way it stays nice and soft and does not get tough and dried out.
If you plan on freezing your granola wait and toss in the dried fruit until you’re ready to eat it. Dried fruits get hard when frozen and thawed.