Hanging out in front of the bulk bins at my local co-op made me realize that I haven’t made/had home-made granola in months. My mother always made her own, mainly because a.) you couldn’t buy what you wanted in the 70-80s, b.) it was cheaper, and c.) it tastes a heck of a lot better than store bought granolas.
Here is a (slightly) modified recipe/procedure for my mother’s granola. I ended up adding coconut and coconut essence because I am a coconut freak.
Mom’s Home-made Granola
Mix the following dry ingredients in a large bowl:
6 cups rolled oats (you could also use a combo of multiple grains)
1-3 cups of the following:
slivered raw almonds (or other nuts), raw pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed, wheat germ, ground flax seed, whole grain flour, almond flour etc.
You can also add ½ cup unsweetened coconut (which I love, but was not in my mother’s original recipe) as well as ½ cup dried fruit after the granola has been cooked. I especially love dried cherries and cranberries but I add them when I eat it so I can mix it up when I want to.
Warm the following in a sauce pot on the stove until blended:
1 cup honey (or brown rice syrup, agave nectar or maple syrup)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (Mom used butter – I never said this was healthy)
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp ground cardamom
1 tbsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 275°F. Pour wet ingredients into the dry and mix well. Spread the mixture into two baking dishes. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until evenly golden brown. Stir every 10-15 minutes to ensure even browning. (Note: If using agave nectar, drop the temp to 250°F and cook for and extra 15-20 minutes. It burns very quickly.) If you use fruit, stir once it is cooled. Store in the refrigerator. It probably lasts a long time but I wouldn’t know since we eat it so quickly.
Looking online you can find hundreds of personalized granola recipes. Some call for peanut or almond butter, or dark chocolate chunks, candies, crystalized ginger. You could add banana chips, carob, or walnuts, peanuts, or even soy nuts. The possibilities are endless.
FoodReferecnce.com has an interesting article tracking the history of granola. I found it quite entertaining since most of granolas creators have somehow made their names known well in the foodie world. Here goes a quick some up of its creation.
In the 1830s Sylvester Graham develops Graham flour and Graham Crackers as he was a strong advocate of “Grahamism” (now called vegetarianism). In 1863 James C. Jackson uses sheets of baked Graham flour, broken up, rebaked and broken up again to create “Granula”. Now, in 1876 Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, a Seventh Day Adventist and director of their Battle Creek Sanitarium, develops a mix of baked and rebaked whole grains, and also calls it “Granula”. He is promptly sued by Dr. Jackson, and renames it Granola, but fails to market it and it never becomes a success. Along comes Charles W. Post, a patient at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, who leaves uncured from the sanitarium only to become cured by a rival religious system follower, opens his own health retreat, and makes his own Granola recipe, calling it Grape Nuts. Of course, as we all know, it becomes quite commercially successful. Finally, the Granola name is revived by the modern health food movement, it becomes a “hippie” health food in the 1960’s and finally, today granola has gone completely mainstream.
Cereal just wouldn’t be what it is today without strict (if not somewhat paranoid) vegetarians and psychotic religious sanitariums. That reminds me, if you ever want to see a funny (if not disturbing) version of Dr. Kellogg’s sanitarium, go rent The Road to Wellville starring Anthony Hopkins or go borrow the book of the same name.
However, with all that said and considering that all the ingredients in the main recipe will probably cost you under $10.00 and you get a lot of granola out of it, this method is way cheaper, and you can make this version a whole lot healthier for you and your family with no intervention from Dr. Kellogg at all. Happy Cooking!