I just love the way my kitchen smells when I bake granola. Infused with vanilla and cinnamon, the aromas fill my tiny apartment. When I started living more "budget-conscious", I realized how expensive and sugar/oil-loaded store-bought granola was. It's one of my favorite foods, and I became increasingly more interested in trying a concoction out in my own oven. When I landed on Pinterest, I immediately started searching for granola recipes. At first, I was hunting for the raw variety, but since I don't own a dehydrator, that would make raw baking possible, I opted for a more traditional oven-baked "oat-based" granola.
I landed upon a couple promising ones, but immediately I knew I would need to make some modifications. I'm still perfecting my own version, but this is as close as I've gotten to satisfaction. The origins for this recipe are from http://www.you-made-that.com/homemade-granola/, and to which I'm most grateful for providing me with an excellent foundation. At first, I tried the recipe (cutting everything in half to yield less product), but the brown sugar solidified and wouldn't "melt" during the heating process. While the result was still delicious, I found it to be too sweet. The next time I tried it, I would use maple syrup instead of the brown sugar. I cut the sugar in half, and the end result was still pleasant, however, I may end up adding a little more sweetener in future attempts, since the soy milk I use is unsweetened.
Even so, I've been using this modified recipe for several weeks. My room-mate has caught on, adding dried apples, pears, cranberries, or raisins. My mom simply can't stop snacking on it, and I find it's the perfect way to start the day, or to get through the mid-afternoon "slump".
I hope you enjoy and continue modifying as I have. There's nothing quite like home-made granola, and the sweet smell of cinnamon.
• 4 cups rolled oats (I buy mine in bulk. I prefer thick oats, but any kind will do. I've considered making this with buckwheat, instead, to create a grain-free version)
• 1/2 cup flax meal (you can find this at Trader Joe's, where it's more affordable. I like mixing this in with oatmeal and smoothies, too, so you can keep it in your cupboard for such occasions)
• 1 cup sliced almonds (you can slice them yourself or buy them pre-sliced. They add just the right amount of crunch)
• 1 cup sliced walnuts (you could also use pecans or cashews- I just love the taste of these after they've been baked with the cinnamon and vanilla - I might try these by themselves for the holidays)
• 1/2 cup sweetened (or not) coconut flakes (optional) - (adds a little more coconut flavor and texture)
• 1/3 cup coconut oil (or more, depending on desired consistency - full recipe calls for 3/4 cup) - (I prefer raw or cold-pressed oils if available)
• 1/4 maple syrup (or more for desired sweetness - the full recipe calls for 1 cup sugar, so I may end up upping mine to 1/2 cup)
• 1/4 raw honey (optional - this will add a different flavor, but I like the extra sweetness, plus I like licking the spoon when I'm done adding it to the mix)
• 1/4 tsp salt (helps to bring out the sweetness and the flavors of the
• 1/2 Tbs vanilla (sometimes I add the whole Tablespoon - I'm crazy about vanilla)
• 1/2 Tbs cinnamon (or if you're like me, you won't measure this part - I'm also crazy about cinnamon)
• 1/2-1 cup dried fruit (optional - if you skimp on the sugar, you may choose to add more dried fruit to balance the palate)
Step 3: Pour the "wet" mixture into the oat mixture and stir until well combined. Sometimes I stir with my hands, just to make sure all the goodness at the bottom of the bowl gets utilized.
Step 5: Bake for 12 minutes. You'll notice browning around the edges. Stir well, and bake for another 10-12 minutes, until the oats have reached a golden brown color. If you decide to bake with the full amounts, you may have to stir again and bake for a few more minutes. Trial and error, as different ovens produce different results.
Step 7: Transfer your creation to tupperware containers and store in a cool, dry place for up to 3 weeks. But I guarantee you it won't last that long. It's too delicious!