How To: Make Homemade Granola

Granola is one of those staple foods in our house. @isitvegan is pretty wild about it for breakfast, and honestly, when I’m not enjoying one of my favorite smoothies, I like it too. For years (yes literally years) we bought boxed granola from Trader Joe’s. Not just any granola would do, mind you. For one, few store bought granolas are actually vegan, as most contain honey and or whey. Secondly, it can be really expensive. And number three, not all of them taste great.

One night we were watching Diners Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network, and Guy Fieri was watching this “diner chick” make her own granola for the whole diner. It struck me at that moment that I could totally do that, and probably already had the ingredients in the pantry. I gave it a shot the next day and we’ve been off Trader Joe’s Granny Smith Granola ever since.

I love this recipe because it is easy and you get to be creative. There is a lot of give with this. You can change up the nut/berry mix or the extracts to get the flavor combo you like most. Now I make up a batch about once a week and store it in an airtight container. It makes a great breakfast and dessert topping. (Fruit, granola and vegan cream parfaits anyone?)

Assemble in a big/giant bowl:
Updated Recipe 04/10/2011
5 Cups Rolled Oats
1 Cup Chopped Raw Nuts (pecans and slivered almonds are our favs but walnuts would work)
1 Cup Unsweetened Shredded  Coconut
1 Cup Dried Fruit (cranberries, cherries, blueberries, raisins, currents, dried apple, whatever you dig)
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 Teaspoon Almond Extract

Preheat the oven to 350F. Assemble all the ingredients in a giant bowl and mix thoroughly using your hands or a rubber spatula making sure that everything is coated well and sticky. Pour the mixture onto a jellyroll pan (cookie sheet with a lip) and even out the mixture. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pan and use your spatula to mix up the granola so that all of it has a chance to get nice and golden. Make sure to close your oven door while you mix. Then place back in the over for another 3-5 minutes. Let it cool and then store in an air tight container.

Flavor combo ideas:
Northwest: Cherry-almond
Tropical: Coconut-mango-macadamia
New England: Cranberry-walnut
Across the pond: Current-pecan
Winter: Maple-pecan

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