Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Easy Homemade Granola - So Simple, Why Didn’t I Try This Sooner?!

Making homemade granola has been on my to do list forever, but for one reason or another I never got around to it. I was bookmarking granola recipes like crazy when I found a simple recipe using only a small amount of natural sweetener that's a winner.

Granola is also a perfect recipe to make with my 3 year old with its short ingredients list and a simple scoop, dump, and stir process. I try to include him as much as possible when we’re cooking or baking, since he really enjoys it and always tries everything he helps make.

Easy Homemade Granola Recipe
Adapted from Food Network, Ellie Krieger

3 cups old-fashioned oats
½ cup chopped raw, unsalted walnuts
½ cup chopped raw, unsalted almonds
½ cup chopped unsalted pecans
½ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. I like to use a refillable Misto or similar spray container. I made this recipe twice so far and forgot to spray the baking sheet the second time I made the recipe. It still turned out great with no sticking, so I skip the spray.

2. Combine the oats, nuts, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt, if using in a large bowl.
Mommy's happy helper!  That's crockpot chicken broth going on the background...always multitasking. :)

Clean hands really are the best tools in the kitchen!

3. Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and bake until golden brown, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. I set a timer for every 10 minutes and use the same silicone spatula used to combine the mixture to stir it up and spread it evenly on the baking sheet.

4. Put the baking sheet on a cooling rack and let cool completely.

5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

After I made homemade granola, I realized this is more of a method than an exact recipe (although it’s delicious as is). You can add your favorite ingredients (spices, dried fruits, nuts, etc.) to make your own special flavor combinations. I definitely want to try substituting pureed fresh fruit in place of the maple syrup...should be interesting!

There are endless uses for homemade granola. Use it to top yogurt, oatmeal, applesauce, ice cream, waffles, or just eat it plain with a splash of milk. I wish I would have tried making my own granola sooner. I typically have all the ingredients in the pantry and it’s one of those recipes that we’ll make again and again.

Anybody else have a favorite granola recipe or any favorite ingredients to throw in homemade granola?

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