In the words of Dr. Seuss, "Oh the thinks you can think"... when you make homemade granola.
From the kind of oats to choose, to what types of nuts you add, to the dried fruit you toss in, and the spices with which you flavor it all, the options for granola are endless.
This is just a basic recipe, so feel free to add or subtract whatever you like.
First things first... you'll need oats. As I've said before, I try to avoid gluten, so I choose gluten free oats. My preference is quick cooking oats, as opposed to rolled oats, because they are smaller.
Pour your oats in a bowl.
Add your nuts of choice. I chose almonds, dehydrated pecans, and sunflower seeds.
Toss to combine.
Add in your seasonings of choice. I like a dash of salt, ~ a teaspoon of cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg. Pumpkin pie spice would be a great choice for this time of year (which is basically just adding cloves and ginger to the other spices already added).
Now to a little pot, add oil, honey, maple syrup, and vanilla. Warm over medium heat until the ingredients are combined. *The recipe does not call for maple syrup. I like to do half honey and half maple syrup, however, because I love the smokey flavor the syrup gives the granola. Plus, although I like the taste of honey, I don't like a strong honey taste in things like this.
A little secret when using oil and honey is to add the oil first. Then, using the same measuring cup, the honey will slide right out since you oiled the sides. :)
Pour the liquid ingredients over the oats and nuts. Toss until everything is coated.
Pour the mixture onto a baking pan.
Spread it out into an even layer. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Tossing the granola halfway through.
While baking, keep your child(ren) occupied any way you can...
When the granola is finished (your nose will tell you when it's done), pull the baking sheet out and leave the granola to cool. It should still seem a little soft and gooey - it will harden as it sits. If you wait until it's totally crunchy before you pull the granola out of the oven, it will be too hard once it cools.
Once it has cooled, toss in your choice of dried fruits. I added dried cranberries sweetened with apple juice this time. I also enjoy dried cherries and coconut shavings. Like I said, the options are endless!
Here is the original recipe from our church cookbook. **I cut the recipe in half each time.**
7 c. oats
1 1/2 c. wheat germ (I omit this, seeing as how I avoid wheat)
4 c. nuts or seeds (pecans, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, cashews, etc)
1 c. honey (I use half honey and half maple syrup)
3/4 c. light olive oil
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1 c. dried fruit, (optional)
Combine first three ingredients in a very large bowl. (This is where I add my spices). Heat honey, oil, and vanilla together over medium heat; pour over dry mixture and stir, coating mixture thoroughly. Spread in a 9x13 pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Stir once in the middle of baking. After it has cooled, add any dried fruit, such as blueberries, cherries, cranberries, etc. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.