Monday, August 29, 2011

Homemade Granola

Homemade Granola is awesome for several reasons, but for me, it is mostly awesome because I can customize the ingredients to what I like (and what I need - nut free for my son) and because it is super easy to make and cooks in just 25 minutes. I don't ever buy granola, mainly because I can't find it without nuts, but also, because it contains ingredients I can't even pronounce. It is sooooo much healthier to make your own. I like to purchase all my ingredients at the local Co-op in the bulk bins. It is much cheaper that way, so you can splurge and buy organic mix-ins. You need about 4 cups of mix-ins, so here is where you can choose and customize your granola. I like to use a cup each of sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, mini chocolate chips and dried cherries.

Homemade Granola
recipe from How Does She
Ingredients:
12 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup flour
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 cups total dry ingredients for mix-ins (sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, mini chocolate chips, dried cherries, or anything else you like such as sliced almonds, raisins, etc.)
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup honey (I buy local organic honey also in the bulk bins)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a VERY large bowl, mix together the oats, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Using quick cooking oats yields granola with bigger chunks, which I prefer. I have also made this with old fashioned oats, which still tastes great, but it yields granola that is more crumbly and messy to eat. Measure your four cups of mix-ins. I used one cup of unsalted sunflower seeds... One cup of coconut flakes...
One cup of mini chocolate chips... and one cup of dried cherries. These are so tart and sweet, and way more exciting and tasty than raisins. But seriously, use what you like best! Add all four cups of mix-ins to your oats, flour and spices. Mix thoroughly. Get a cute little helper to assist. Kids love to be in the kitchen helping.
This helper is such a ham... Mix together the vegetable oil and honey in a large measuring cup, and microwave until warmed, about 1-2 minutes. Pour over oat mixture and stir until it evenly coats the entire mixture. Divide mixture between three baking sheets, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until top is browned. Yum. Try not to move it right away. Let it sit on the baking sheets until completely cooled. That is key to getting big chunks ;) Once cooled, you can break it up and store in containers, jars, or even ziplock bags. I love homemade granola, and I figured some of my sweet friends did too, so I packaged some in pretty jars to give as birthday gifts (with some good quality coffee beans).
This granola has a pretty long shelf life (about 3 weeks in an airtight container) but feel free to store in the freezer too! Enjoy, and don't let the large quantities in this recipe keep you from trying it (although it is really fun to share). This recipe can easily be cut in half.

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