Thursday, January 20, 2011

Homemade Granola

One way we save money is by making a lot of our own groceries. I love to bake and find it rewarding and satisfying knowing what is in the food I serve my family. My children love granola, but we found most on the market to be hard and quite substandard, so we went on a search to find a good recipe. With a lot of experimenting, we now have a recipe that we are satisfied with.



Granola

Syrup:
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
Cereal:
5 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup dried milk
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch salt
1/2 cup raisins
Other on-hand ingredients ie: nuts, dried fruits, coconut, seeds, etc.

Place oatmeal in a 9" x 13" pan. Sprinkle evenly with dried milk, then salt. At this point, I usually will sprinkle 2 Tbs. flax seed meal, an even coating of each: coconut, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chopped walnuts or pecans.** Leave the raisins out until later.

After you are satisfied with with the ingredients in your cake pan, set aside. Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix the oil, brown sugar, and honey in a small saucepan and heat until the ingredients combine. It will seem like the oil and sugar won't mix, but once it starts boiling, you will see a change - everything combines. Take off heat and pour over ingredients in cake pan. Mix well. Bake for 7 minutes, stir, then bake for another five, stir, then put back in for another 5 minutes. By now, the ingredients should be a bit browned and the syrup has been incorporated evenly.

Take from the oven and cool - mixing while cooling to prevent items from staying in one huge clump.

**Note: If I'm putting in raisins, I usually add about an equal amount of dates. If I'm using another dried fruit or berry, I'll leave out the raisins sometimes. There really is no recipe of what to add after the first four cereal ingredients - it's usually whatever I have on hand and what I think may taste good together. I like to put in as many seeds as possible, because the seeds have a powerhouse of good vitamins and minerals in them.

We have been making this granola for a good year now, tweaking it as we go - experimenting with different combinations and ingredients. Today I made our normal raisin, date and pecan granola and in the second pan I made a cherry granola which used our own dehydrated sweet cherries. The cherries were a bit of a disappointment, as they didn't have the flavor we get from dehydrating sour cherries. It was still good, but not as good as it could be. I will be making note of this.

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