Let’s see….on a sunny mountain during spring downhill skiing, in the car with your girlfriends on the way to your X-C ski weekend, on your next flight somewhere, on a warm rock during a great hike, on the field after your kid’s (or your) <insert sport here> game, in your kid’s lunchbox, at the kitchen table after school, on top of yogurt for breakfast…. there are so many ways to enjoy granola! And a myriad of ways you can personalize it. It’s so much cheaper to make it yourself than to get store-bought. For me, with nut allergies, store-bought granola is generally a no-go so I didn’t grow up eating it and have only recently been turned onto it.
The ingredients are as complex or simple as you’d like them. I started with 5-Grain rolled hot cereal, but you can use plain rolled oats of course.
Most people would add sliced or whole almonds, walnuts, peanuts etc, but since that won’t work for the nut-challenged, I discovered that roasted soy nuts work very well. They’re not really nuts, just roasted and salted soybeans. (Of course, that won’t work for the soy-challenged, but hey, I can’t please everyone!!)
Dried fruit adds different textures and interest. I used dried blueberries and cranberries. Shaved coconut would be a good addition too.
But what makes is really great, and super clumpy and cluster-y is the use of peanut butter (soy nut butter for me). I got the idea from Dinner with Julie. When you pour the melted nut butter over the cereal just work it in a little bit and you’ll get these awesome clumps which makes it great for snacking by the handful. Like this:
If you like your granola finer use a bit less nut butter and honey and keep working it in until it gets distributed more evenly. Like this:
Then bake it until it gets toasty. When it’s still hot, pour on the dried fruit and nuts and stir it around before letting it cool.
If you really want it to be
a decadent snack with your fave tv show a good energy boost during your long, difficult hike, scatter chocolate chips over it when it’s still hot in the pan. O..M..G.
Let it cool completely and then store it. Everyone stores their granola in 1950’s bar ware, right?
Homemade Granola (Nut Free)
The amounts below will make your granola pretty clumpy. You could make it less clumpy by using about 1/3 cup soynut/peanut butter and 1/4 cup honey. Also, my soynut butter is sweetened already so I tend to use less..some recipes call for both honey and brown sugar. If you use unsweetened PB, you may want to add a bit more. The recipe below is certainly not cloyingly sweet by any means.
3 cups 5-grain rolled cereal/rolled oats
1 cup small pieces of dried fruit
1/2 cup whole roasted soy nuts (or whole or slivered tree nuts)
1/2 cup soy nut butter/peanut butter
1/3 cup honey (it’s also yummy with maple syrup)
In a small saucepan over med-low heat, slowly melt the soynut butter (peanut butter) and warm the honey. In the meantime, dump the rolled cereal/oats in a large mixing bowl. Add shredded coconut if you’re using it. When the nut butter and honey are all liquid-y, pour it over the cereal and stir to combine. When as well distributed as you’d like, spread it out on a cookie sheet with sides.
Bake at 350° for about 20-30 min or until golden, depending on your oven. Take out of the oven and sprinkle the dried fruit and soynuts and stir them in while the granola cools. If you scatter chocolate chips over the top at this point, leave them for a minute or two so they melt over the granola. Swirl them around over the top of the granola with a knife and then leave it to cool completely (it shouldn’t look shiny at all). It will kill you to not eat any at this point but trust me, you do not want all that good melted chocolate going to waste smeared on the pan. You can always stick the pan in the fridge to speed it up if you are so impatient! Store in your favourite container on the counter.