I first encountered home made granola when I was working back east at Mercedes Benz of North America My co-worker Amy, had to stop by her parents house to drop something off before we went out after work, and as soon as she opened the door, there was this amazing smell that hit us like an angelic song. Her dad was in the kitchen making granola and granola bars. It was then that I got my first taste of homemade granola, and the store bought kind from Quaker oats never tasted the same again.
Store bought granola is extremely expensive and its so easy to make it at home. A few years back, USA Today had the best recipe I’ve seen, and its served as my base foundation for making granola ever since. My daughter is living in Philadelphia going to Temple University, and one of the things she always asks for is some homemade granola to be shipped in the care packages. You don’t have to be a great cook to make granola; all it requires is patience and about a hour of your time.
Here’s the basic recipe in my house. Granola season usually starts after the Christmas holidays when we have an abundance of nuts and dried fruits left over from holiday baking. The beauty of granola is that you can use a variety of ingredients and whatever is at hand in the kitchen! And on rainy days, it makes the house smell rather cozy and warm.
2 Cups of old fashioned oats (I buy this in bulk for granola and muffins!)
1/2 cup of wheat germ
1/4 tsp of salt
2 TB of dark brown sugar
1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts
1/4 cup of maple syrup (use real maple syrup!)
3 TBs of canola or safflower oil
1 Tb of water
1 tsp of orange rind
1 tsp of vanilla
1/2 cup of golden or dark raisins (or other dried fruit)
Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
- Mix oats, wheat germ, salt, brown sugar and chopped nuts in a bowl.
- In a small pan, combine syrup, oil, water orange rind and vanilla. Bring to a slow simmer over low heat.
- Drizzle liquid over the oat mixture and then combine with a wooden spoon
- Spray a metal baking pan with vegetable spray and spread out granola evenly Using your hands, form a few “clumps” here and there for texture.
- Bake granola for 30 minutes stirring it about every 10 minutes or so to bake evenly
- Add raisins and bake for 15 minutes more
- Remove from oven and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container
We’ve eaten this granola as cereal and as topping over plain yogurt and fruit. My kids actually eat it straight out of the bag and I have no idea whether it stays fresh beyond a week, because it never lasts that long in our house!
And now advice from my Mom’s kitchen:
A towel is a poor substitute for an oven mitt!
I had this lesson reiterated last weekend when making muffins and got a nasty ass burn on my arm from grabbing the tray with a dish towel instead of a mitt And throw out your mitts when they get worn! Like mom always said–use the right tool for the right purpose. Dish towels are for drying dishes not taking out hot things from the oven.