simple granola

I had some awful store-bought granola this past week.  I don’t want to name names ( hint:  sadly, it’s named after a book of the Bible).  It was so devoid of flavor that I doubted I was actually ingesting an edible substance.  How can something supposedly rich in whole grains be so tasteless?  I’m really not picky when it comes to granola-I like most textures and natural flavors, just not too sweet.

Keep a container of bulk oats in the pantry and it will be convenient to whip up a batch of this anytime.  The problem with this recipe is that it is so good, it doesn’t last very long (hence  the necessity to occasionally purchase granola at the store).  Sitting in a large container on the counter top, my husband will grab a handful whenever he walks by and, before you know it, it disappears.  Most times I double or even triple this recipe.

What starts as a base recipe for granola, evolves into something different every time I make it, depending on what I have on hand.  No safflower oil?  Use olive or vegetable oil (you may have to adjust the baking time as some oils will cause the granola to cook quicker).  Add cinnamon, allspice, or ground ginger to give it a different flavor.  No walnuts or sunflower seeds?  I’ve used almonds, hazelnuts,  toasted pumpkin seeds, or a combination of whatever nuts I have on hand.  Adding dried fruit after baking enhances the granola, or you can leave it plain.

Did I mention how wonderful your house will smell while it’s baking?

simple granola

2 C. rolled oats (not quick cooking)

1/2 C. unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 C. shelled, unsalted sunflower seeds

1/2 C. nuts – pecans, walnuts, peanuts or almonds

1/2 C. honey or pure maple syrup

1/4 C. ground flax

1/3 C. safflower oil

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.  Line large cookie sheet with parchment paper (use  two cookie sheets, if necessary).  Spread granola in a thin layer on cookie sheet and bake approximately 30-40 minutes.  Turn granola after 20 minutes of baking to prevent burning and check for doneness.  It should be lightly crispy.  Allow to cool before placing in an airtight container.  Add dried fruit (I had golden raisins on hand, so that’s what I added this time).  In the past, I’ve added freeze-dried blueberries, dried currants, and chopped dried apples.

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