Fun fact about me: I eat granola almost every day.
I sprinkle it over yogurt and fruit for a breakfast parfait. I grab a handful for a midday snack. I treat it as cereal with milk and frozen blueberries for a cool, refreshing start to the day.
Despite how easy granola is to make, I usually buy mine from the store (or farmers market). The few times I have made granola, it is markedly better than the store-bought stuff: The nuts have that freshly-roasted flavor, the granola itself is ultra crunchy and I get to control the sweetener.
So when reader Ann Stanton sent me her favorite breakfast granola recipe, I knew I needed to up my granola game. Take this column as a recipe for yourself, and a promise on my behalf to make more homemade weekly staples.
The recipe was first shared by Ann’s sister, though Ann modified it over the years to her liking. So feel free to add your own twist on the following recipe. That’s the magic (and adaptability) of granola.
“This granola, drowned in whole milk alongside a mug holding 4 shots of Blue Star decaf espresso, black or with cream, never gets old,” Ann wrote.
A woman after my own heart.
5 1/2 cups regular or slow-cooking rolled oats (not instant)*
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons molasses, dark or light
1/2 cup canola oil
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cups chopped pecans, almonds and/or walnuts (a mix of all three is best)
1 1/3 cups dried fruit (raisins, apricots, cranberries, chopped dates)
Optional add-ins: coconut, flax seeds
Preheat oven to 325 degrees, then lower it to 275 degrees
Stir liquid ingredients together (honey, oil, vanilla and sugar) in a big bowl. Stir in dry ingredients, EXCEPT fruit. Spread mixture onto two cookie sheets. Bake about ten or fifteen minutes at 325°, then another fifteen minutes at 275°, stirring every 5-10 minutes.
Watch that it doesn’t scorch. Everything should brown lightly. It will still feel soft when you remove it from the oven, but it will crisp up as it cools. After it has cooled slightly, stir in dried fruit. Keep in sealed container in the refrigerator to keep it from clumping.
This is good with cold milk on it, like cereal, or eaten plain as a snack.
*Also called old-fashioned oats (NOT steel cut)