I helped Mama make granola the other day. We like to eat it with yogurt, but it’s also pretty good on its own. And it’s so simple to make! The beauty of granola, as Mama explained it, is that you can add whatever you like to it.
Your base is going to be rolled oats, of course, but you can add any nut, seed, or grain that suits your fancy. I helped add sliced almonds and some wheat germ. Then you need something to bind it all together–remember, a little goes a long way–plus, a bit of oil to keep it from sticking to your pan (and to help it toast). We used honey and maple syrup, but you don’t even need both. And we added some flavorings like vanilla and almond extracts and cinnamon & cloves.
You spread it out in a single layer on 1 or 2 baking sheets, then bake for 25–35 minutes in a low oven (275–325°F), stirring once during cook-time and rotating the sheets, if you have more than one. When you stir it, it’s a good time to add any other dried ingredients, like raisins, cranberries, dried apricots, or shredded coconut. You could add it when you first mix your batch of granola, but you risk these add-ons burning or turning too hard. Or so says Mama. Cool the granola completely before putting it in an airtight container, otherwise it’ll get soggy. And nobody likes soggy granola.
Ideas for granola add-ins:
- sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds
- walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, pistachios
- white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, Heath toffee bits, M&Ms
- dried apples, pears, cherries, cranberries, apricots, mango, pineapple, currants, figs, blueberries, golden raisins, prunes, crystalized ginger
- crispy rice cereal, shredded coconut, chopped pretzels, wheat germ
- maple syrup (the really good kind), agave nectar, brown sugar (in oil or melted butter), canola oil, coconut oil, peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter
- vanilla, almond, orange extracts
- spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, allspice–or try something altogether different, like curry