Introduction: Homemade Granola

Versatile and customizable, homemade granola is one staple I make often and try to always keep on hand. It goes together really fast then bakes in the oven, low and slow, and makes the house smell amazing! We like it in a parfait with fruit and yogurt or sprinkled over ice cream or just enjoyed by the handful on a hike. It keeps really well in a plastic tub in the pantry for a couple of weeks.

Step 1: Get Out Your Ingredients

Basic granola is some combination of oats, nuts, seeds, spices and sweetener. You can use any kind of nuts and seeds you like. I have also used both honey and maple syrup as sweeteners, depending on the season. I also like to use candied ginger in place of the ground ginger because I like the sweeter, stronger flavor. I found a bag of already chopped up candied ginger at Penzy's Spices, so that's what I used in this batch. I always add some kind of dry fruit, usually raisins, to the batch after I bake it. The basic recipe has:

3 1/2 cups rolled oats (you can use steel cut oats, don't use quick cook oats)

1 cup raw sliced almonds

1 cup raw chopped walnuts (I have also used pecans and cashews)

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 cup chopped candied ginger (or 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger)

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Raisins, Craisins, dried apricots or cherries

Step 2: Preheat and Combine

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. In a large bowl combine the oats, nuts, seeds, coconut and spices.

Step 3: Combine the Liquids

Melt the butter and the honey. It doesn't have to be super hot, just melted and combined. Turn off the heat and add the vanilla.

Step 4: Stir It All Together

Pour the melted butter, honey, vanilla mixture over the oat mixture and stir to combine. Make sure all the dry ingredients are coated with the butter and honey. Divide the mixture between two sheet pans lined with silpat or parchment paper and spread the granola into a thin even layer.

Step 5: Bake

Bake the granola for 75 minutes, rotating the pans a couple of times so that the granola toasts and browns evenly.

Step 6: Cool and Store

Let the granola cool completely, then break it up into small pieces with your hands. This is the perfect time to add the dried fruit. Raisins are the usual, but I've made this with craisins, dried cherries, dried apricots, dried apples and dried bananas. I would guess I add anywhere from 1 to 2 cups, depending on what I have in the house. You can mix and match and use as much or as little as you want. I store it in a plastic cereal container in the pantry. I would guess it would keep for up to two weeks, but it never lasts that long in my house! Enjoy, and let me know what you add when you make it for yourself!

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