It is very easy to make homemade granola. I've been doing it for over 15 years, basing my recipe on one in the Quick & Easy
cookbook edited by Shelly Melvin. It tastes way better (I think) than commercial granola, plus it gives you control over the ingredients and their quantities, in case you're trying to avoid certain foods or food types. The recipe is infinitely adjustable, but here's my basic procedure:4-5.5 cups of grains
- I use mostly thick rolled oats (4 cups), plus optional rolled triticale, rolled spelt, millet, amaranth, buckwheat groats (kashi), and recently I accidentally put raw quinoa in the mix thinking it was millet, and it was good!1/4 cup liquid sweetener
- I usually use honey, but have used mixes of brown rice syrup, maple syrup and molasses. All maple syrup is too sweet/maple-y for me, all brown rice syrup is distinctively less sweet.1/4 cup oil
- I use safflower or canola usually, sometimes coconut oil, especially if I'll be adding coconut.Spices to taste
- this is optional, but recommended. I usually use a goodly amount of cinnamon, plus one or more of nutmeg, ginger, ground cloves, cardamom. 0.5-1.5 cups of coconut and/or seeds
- also optional. Unsweetened coconut flakes, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and so on. 1-2 tsp vanilla or almond or orange extract
- also optional.Nuts and/or dried fruit
- in any amount and combination you desire, to be added after the baking process. I always use raisins and some nut (pecan, walnut, almond, hazelnut) plus usually either dried cherries or dried sweetened cranberries; sometimes I add date pieces, dried apple pieces, dried mango pieces, other nuts. If I use cashews I like to add them with the seeds rather than afterward because they taste better slightly sweetened and toasted. Procedure:
Preheat oven to 300°F. Mix grains, seeds, and spices in a large bowl. Mix sweetener and oil in a microwave-safe container (I use my Pyrex measuring cup) and heat 30 sec or so and stir to combine, then add to the grain mix and stir until everything is evenly distributed. (A silicone tool works well for this.) Spread evenly on a silicone sheet (like a silpat) on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Let it cool and harden in the pan, then peel it off the sheet and crumble into a container, adding the nuts and/or dried fruit and mixing thoroughly.
If you don't have a silicone baking sheet you can still do this, but you will need to stand over the granola and mix it frequently as it cools. Otherwise it will stick to the baking sheet and you will be unhappy. You can rescue this situation by returning the sheet to the warm oven for a while.
If you don't want to heat your kitchen (like, in summer) you can make a half-batch or so in a large skillet. You can just add the oil and sweetener to the pan directly, then pour in the grain mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly
, for about 8 minutes - you'll see the grains change color as they toast. Continue stirring as the mixture cools off the heat, so it doesn't stick to the pan.Granola bars
are also fairly easy to make. I riff off this basic recipe from the Smitten Kitchen
: I use the lower amount of sugar, I don't use the extra corn syrup, I often substitute oil for butter (and use 1/4 cup, that is, 4 Tbsp, rather than 6 Tbsp), I never use nut butter, I don't add a Tbsp of water, and I usually use regular wheat flour rather than grinding oats for oat flour. I also rarely use raisins in them because raisins tend to puff up in the oven. Mostly I make oat-seed-nut bars (I love sesame seeds in these) and cut them in squares. I use a silicone 9x9 pan so I don't do the pan lining, it just turns out in one big hunk when I invert it onto a cutting board.