Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Homemade granola

It is really easy to make your own granola at home and know exactly what is in it (and avoid those high prices at the store).  I made some for the first time a couple of weeks ago while babysitting with my grandkids, and had my trusty 3-year-old helper right by my side.  I didn't buy anything special to make it with, just looked around and found what was available.  I ended up using chopped almonds, unsweetened shredded coconut, and a few dried blueberries as add-ins.  The second time I made it, I used walnuts, unsweetened shredded coconut, and sunflower seeds.  Let your imagination (and your pantry) be your guide - add flax seeds, hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds, dried fruit pieces, chocolate chips, etc.  If you use dried fruit or chocolate chips, add them after baking and cooling.

Homemade Granola
  • 3 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 4 cups of add-ins (coarsely chopped nuts, coconut, seeds, dried fruit, etc.)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil (or butter)
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup (or honey)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat oven to 250 degrees and cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Mix all the dry ingredients except salt and dried fruit or chocolate chips, if using, together in a large bowl.  Heat the coconut oil and maple syrup until oil is melted, then stir in vanilla and salt.  Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients and mix well until everything is evenly coated. Spread in thin layer on the cookie sheet, and bake for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to keep it in loose chunks, or until it starts to brown (watch closely when it is getting to the end of the baking time). Allow to cool completely on the cookie sheet, adding dried fruit or chocolate chips, if using, after it is cool.  Store in an airtight container, and if you are keeping it more than 2 weeks, freeze it.

You can eat it out of hand as a snack, with milk as a breakfast cereal, or our favorite way, as a topping for a fruit and yogurt parfait (layer Greek vanilla yogurt, fresh or frozen fruit, and top with granola in a bowl or sherbet dish). 

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