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Monday, January 25, 2010

Crunchy Granola

I am not a big fan of commercial granola. I find it way too sweet, like so many other breakfast cereals. I have started making my own, using a basic recipe from Mark Bittman. I've made a few minor modifications to his recipe and offer some tasty combinations. This is also an economical recipe. Bulk rolled oats are very cheap and they are the basis of this recipe. It's a good way to use up odds and ends of nuts and dried fruit too.

Crunchy Granola
(makes about 8 cups, 16 servings)

6 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant)
2 cups chopped nuts and/or seeds
1 cup dried unsweetened grated coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup (imitation maple syrup is fine)
dash of salt
1 cup raisins, craisins or chopped dried fruit
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine oats, nuts, coconut, cinnamon, sweetener and salt in a large heatproof bowl. If using honey, it's going to be clumpy, but don't worry about that.
3. Dump onto a large rimmed cookie sheet. Don't clean out of the bowl; you'll be using it again.
4. Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring it every 10 minutes so that it browns evenly. Keep an eye on it near the end of baking so that it doesn't burn.
5. Transfer the cooked, hot granola from the cookie sheet back to the bowl. Drizzle on the vanilla (boy, does that smell good!) and mix in the dried fruit. Allow to cool and store in a cool, dry place.

Some tasty combinations:

2 cups chopped pecans, imitation maple syrup, and chopped dried apricots or pears

2 cups chopped or sliced almonds, honey, and raisins

2 cups peeled chopped hazelnuts, imitation maple syrup, and chopped dried apricots or peaches

2 cups chopped walnuts, honey, and craisins

Link to PDF of Crunchy Granola Recipe