Homemade Granola

Homemade granola is one of those things that takes very little time and effort, but yields very worthwhile results. Making granola can be as simple as combining ingredients in a bowl, and then baking them on a baking sheet. The fun part comes when you get creative – or in my household, precise – with the ingredients you choose: any combination of oats, nuts, fruits, seeds, oils and sweeteners.

I started making granola because I was finding it very difficult to please a certain somebody with the granola I was buying at the store. It was either too sweet, too fruity, or contained too many ingredients. After disappointing Goldilocks too many times, I decided to try my hand at my own granola. It needed to have nuts (but not too many), only have a hint of sweetness, it could maybe have some dried fruit (but preferably not raisins) and seeds were ok, so long as they weren’t too small. And if I used cinnamon, it would have to be subtle, not overwhelming.

I ended up with a very quick, but very rewarding granola, made of rolled oats, chopped almonds, sunflower seeds, a hint of cinnamon, a larger pinch of ginger, dried cranberries, all tied together with honey. All it took was mixing all of ingredients, except for the cranberries, in a bowl, spreading the mixture out on a baking sheet, and baking it at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. I like trying various combinations, but this simple one seems to please every time.

For my latest batch, I used extra ginger powder and molasses instead of honey, for a somewhat winter-seasonal granola. I also added a handful of pecans and extra sunflower seeds, which I roasted separately, coated in more ginger, so that those clusters would be particularly zingy, but so that the whole granola wouldn’t be overwhelmed with ginger. It’s going fast!

For the recipe and other granola variations

Homemade Granola

6 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped almonds
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup of sunflower seeds
1 /2 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash salt

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees
– Mix all ingredients except for dried fruit together
– Spread mixture evenly onto a baking sheet
– Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden

Substitutions and additions
– Use maple syrup or molasses instead of honey and walnuts and/or pecans instead of almonds
– Add about 3/4 cup of dried coconut for a mildly sweet and crunchy addition
– Sprinkle in chia seeds, flax seeds for more crunch (and added health benefits from omega 3 fatty acids)
– Use vegetable oil for larger, stickier clumps
– Add brown sugar serious sweetness