What I love most about cooking (as opposed to baking) is that there are fewer rules – you add more of what you like, less of what you don’t. You won’t break a recipe by not measuring. When I started to research homemade granola, I realized that there really isn’t a wrong way to make it. However, there does seem to be a general anatony of the homemade granola. So instead of documenting this particular granola recipe (that I will likely change again and again), I decided to culminate a list of homemade granola recipe ideas for us to draw on in the future.
The Anatomy of Homemade Granola
Grains: Most granola begin with oats, preferably old fashioned rolled oats. But, you can also use quick cooking oats, quinoa, buckwheat, muesli or varieties of rice puffed cereals.
Nuts: Pick your favorites, but for the integrity of the recipe, I would stick with 2-3 kinds of nuts max. I love walnuts, almonds and pecans, but you can also use pistachios, peanuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, or macadamias. Buy your nuts dry roasted to avoided any added fats, and be sure to chop very well or use a food processor (or just buy them chopped!).
Dried Fruit: Or not. Dried fruit isn’t mandatory in a homemade granola recipe, but I do love the sticky goodness of dried cranberries and blueberries. Other dried fruits to try are apricots, apple, golden raisin, mango, pineapple. Like the nuts, I suggest sticking to 2-3 kinds of dried fruit.
Flavorings:Extract (vanilla, almond, etc), spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc), ginger root or crystallized ginger, coconut flakes. Different kinds of chocolate chips are a favorite too, and are great in homemade granola recipe ideas. Be sure to add a few pinches of salt to draw out the flavors!
Additives: Making homemade granola gives you the opportunity to combine nutrient dense additives like flax seed, nutritional yeast (or brewer’s yeast), wheat germ, protein powders, etc. I will likely play with our favorite green veggie powder, Vibrant Health’s Green Vibrance, in our next batch.
Sweeteners: This is the part that gets messy. Granola clumps best with loads of oils and sugars, but don’t feel like you have to drench your recipe in them. You can use brown sugar for sweetness, but also popular are: honey, syrup (maple or fruit flavored), black molasses, agave (my personal favorite). Oils helps to keep the granola moist, such as vegetable,olive or coconut oil. My next bath I plan to use apple sauce as the sweetener. After you’ve mixed the above ingredients, make sure everything is evenly coated and wet.
Spread your homemade granola out thinly and cook in a 300 degree oven, stirring and shifting the pan often. Cooking homemade granola takes patience and attention. Although yummy, I probably left this batch in a few minutes too long. Let cool completely before serving or storing in an air tight container.
This was a great recipe to make with your kids. Alina had a blast learning about different nuts and how (or why) fruit is dried. That concept really fascinated her for some reason. We ate it as shown, with yogurt and fruit, and I’ve enjoyed it everyday since as a bowl of cereal.
I love knowing exactly what is in my granola recipe!
Have you made homemade granola before? What flavor combinations should we try next? Leave your link in the comments so I can come check out your recipes!