My little one calls this 'nola, and I think I could eat it for every meal. I have a friend who has made her own granola for years, and I always thought, given that granola is easily purchased at the store, this was a waste of time. However, after making my own (sparkling, golden with bright gems of dried fruit) I cannot go back to eating stale-tasting, store-bought, maple-flavored sawdust. Homemade granola is addictive.
My little one enjoyed making this latest batch of 'nola with me, too. His favorite part was exploring the brown sugar with his increasingly sticky fingers. My favorite part was washing his hands and then distracting him with the task of pouring pre-measured oats and almonds into the mixing bowl.
I searched online and cross-referenced several recipes to get the basics: oven temperature, baking time, and ratios for oat, nuts, oil, and sweeteners. Below you will find the result of my search. A basic, infinitely mutable recipe.
BASIC GRANOLA RECIPE
3 cups rolled oats (not instant which are ground up and not steel cut which require more cooking)
1 cup roasted, unsalted almonds
1/2 cup unsalted pepitas (optional)
3/4 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
1/2 cup brown sugar (or slightly less, to taste)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
2-3 pinches of salt
1 cup raisins or dry cranberries
Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (do not use aluminum foil -- the granola will stick to it -- I learned this the hard way.)
Combine oil, sugar, pinches of salt and honey in a small pan and warm until combined and liquid but not boiling.
Combine oats & nuts in a bowl then pour the oil, sugar, salt & honey mixture over the oat/nut mixture and combine quickly using two spoons.
Still working quickly, before your sugar/oil/honey mixture cools and hardens, spread the contents of your mixing bowl evenly across the parchment-lined pan and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, mix the granola with the spatula, spread evenly again and put back into the oven for another 15 minutes. Then remove from the oven, mix again and cook for a final 10 minutes. The granola should be evenly light golden.
Remove from the oven, distribute raisins or cranberries on top, mix once more, then allow to cool. After the pan of granola cools, break it up into chunks/pieces and store in a jar or plastic bag for up to 2 weeks.
List of Possible Add-Ins:
Different nuts or seeds: sunflowers seeds, macadamias or walnuts (though be careful -- macadamias or walnuts might burn -- to avoid this, you can always add them to the pan half-way through the cooking time or even at the end.)
You can replace some of the honey with maple syrup or a small amount of molasses (I have been making my granola with a tablespoon of dark molasses)
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes (add at the end with the dried fruit -- coconut will burn easily)
Spices such as ginger or cinnamon.
Flavorings such as vanilla.
You can also omit nuts, cranberries or raisins according to preference.