You may not know this, but I am a granola addict. The only thing that keeps me under control is the fact that the granolas I like are six bucks a bag! I don't want chocolate chunks or tons of sugary sweetness in my granola, just crunchy nuts, some oats and dried fruit. My favorite is BareNaked's banana granola, but alas, it is in the six bucks a bag category. This would be fine if I only nibbled on it occasionally but the addict within me wouldn't allow it.
Recently I've seen several posts on various blogs about making your own granola, and then when I saw the movie It's Complicated last weekend there was yet another reference to it. I had never considered making my own granola before. I always assumed it must be some magical process that takes years to master. How else could something so delicious be made?
I took all these references as a sign however, and after going over several recipes decided to strike out on my own and give it a try. Since this project was about saving money I used a lot of ingredients I had lying around the house. I look forward to trying some other variation soon (perhaps a banana heavy variation), which won't be long considering the fact that this batch is almost gone!!! I will learn to pace myself. I will learn to pace myself. I will learn to....
1.5 cups steele cut oats
1 cup chopped almonds
1.5 cups chopped walnuts
.5 cups whole peanuts
couple dashes of salt
.5 cup of cooked apples pured
.25 cups of honey
.25 cups of honey
3 Tbsp. walnut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
a splash of no sugar added banana syrup (very optional)
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. nutmeg
.75 cups of dried apricots quartered
.75 cups of dried cranberries
1. In a large bowl, stir together the oats and nuts. I had steele cut oats on hand, but most recipes call for rolled oats.
2. Place all remaining ingredients in a blender and whirl until smooth. Pour over the dry ingredients stirring well.
3. Spread the granola out thinly on two baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes stirring twice. Then, if you are having to use two oven racks, rotate the sheets so the top sheet is now on the bottom. Bake for an additional 20 minutes stirring twice.
4. Remove the granola from oven and allow to cool slightly before pouring into a large bowl along with the dried fruit. Once the granola has completely cooled you can store it in an air tight container for up to a month.
I love the taste of this granola, even though I burnt mine slightly, but don't expect the liquid ingredients to smell good in the blender. I cook with my nose so I almost threw it out but either out of laziness or a sense of adventure I decided to give it a try. Once it starts baking though it smells like happiness and hugs!
Also, if you like a very dry granola this one might not appeal to you. It has a slight stickiness that causes me to eat it with a spoon (I'm often typing while eating so sticky fingers just won't do). I think next time I'll go a little lighter on the liquid and see if that helps.
Lastly, if you love granola but don't have some of the liquid ingredients that I used on hand, just do a search for granola recipes. There are a ton of variations on the liquid, most of which don't call for the apples for example. Since I have apple trees I happened to have canned apples, but if you are missing some of the ingredients you can probably find another recipe that calls for stuff you have on hand.
Here are the two recipes I looked at to make mine: