Being a native Californian living outside the state, I’ve had to endure teasing from friends for being a “tree hugger”, “valley girl”, “granola-eater”, etc. over the years. I don’t mind – I’m all of the above and proud of it. And truth be told, there is a special place in my heart for granola. I used to eat bowlfuls of the stuff in one sitting. Granola is considered a “health food” by some, and true – it is better than snacking on a processed candy bar, but it’s pretty calorie dense. These days, I eat it a little more judiciously, sprinkling it on yogurt, ice cream, and oatmeal for an added crunch and extra layer of flavor.
I started baking my own granola years ago when I was pregnant because I wanted a healthier version than I could find in stores. The great thing about homemade granola is that you can customize it to suit your tastes. Similar to nut butters, it is easy to make, costs less, and is a very kid-friendly snack to make with kids.
I get my son involved at the very beginning of the process by letting him help choose what kinds of dried fruits and nuts to put in our creation. He likes to help spoon them into bags at the store.
The basic recipe is this:
A. Base ingredients:
Oats , raw nuts, seeds, sometimes I add dried coconut here – you can also add different spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, etc.
Oil, butter (you could probably omit this if you have enough of the sticky stuff to hold the base ingredients together, but I haven’t tried it yet)
Honey, Maple Syrup, Rice Syrup, Molasses, Agave Syrup, Brown Sugar, mashed banana, applesauce
D. Add Ins:
Other roasted nuts and seeds, Dried fruit, chocolate chips, anything you can think of!
- Mix Base Ingredients together in a bowl.
- Mix Fats and Sweeteners together in another bowl until emulsified. Pour over Base Ingredients and mix until coated.
- Bake in oven.
- Let cool. Eat.
There are so many recipes out there to try, and the ratios of A, B, C, and D vary greatly. I suggest playing around with it to find what you like best. This is the recipe my son and I came up with. The ratios and ingredients are based on this recipe from The Barefoot Contessa, but I lowered the temperature, reduced the oil, added maple syrup and brown sugar and cinnamon and changed the ratios of the add-ins.
3 cups oats
1 cup chopped raw almonds
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
½ cup dried coconut
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup canola oil
½ chopped dried figs
¾ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped dried apricots
½ cup roasted, salted cashews
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Mix oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, coconut and cinnamon in a large bowl.
3. Whisk honey, brown sugar, maple syrup and canola oil together in a small bowl until emulsified.
4. Pour honey mixture over oat mixture and mix until all the dry ingredients are coated.
5. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and bake for about 20 minutes. Stir granola and continue baking for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until granola is golden.
6. Remove sheet from oven and allow granola to cool, stirring occasionally. When cooled, mix with remaining dried fruits and cashews.
Makes just under 2 lbs. of granola