Homemade Granola

Baking Christmas cookies isn’t an exact science.  Inevitably, your purchases of materials don’t align precisely with the cookies you’re baking, and you end up with something left over.  This year, my excess supplies included a big container of rolled oats, two bags of dried cranberries, a jar of honey, a bag of walnuts, and a bag of brown sugar, and I’ve been looking for something different to make with them.

Then I thought — well, why not try to make some granola?  Kish and I both like it.  She eats it like cereal, and I like to add it to yogurt.  So I searched for simple yogurt recipes on the internet and found this one at The Wholesome Dish website:

Basic Large Chunk Granola Recipe

Ingredients:  1/2 cup vegetable oil; 1/2 cup honey; 1/3 cup light brown sugar; 1 tbsp. vanilla extract; 1/2 tsp. salt; 5 cups old fashioned rolled oats; 3 cups of your favorite granola items

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line an 11×17 baking sheet with parchment paper,  Add oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and sale to a large bowl, and whisk until sugar is dissolved and oil is well incorporated.  Add the oats and granola items, and stir well.  Pour the oat mixture onto the baking sheet and spread it out into an even layer, using the baking spoon to firmly pack the mixture onto the baking sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the pan half way through cooking.  Remove from the oven and let the granola cool at room temperature for one hour.  Break the granola into large chunks, then store at room temperature in a sealed container or ziplock bag.

This recipe was easy to make and fit perfectly with my holiday baking leftovers; I used the walnuts and dried cranberries as my added granola items.  The only tricky steps are the whisking, where you need to make sure that you end up with a cohesive, well integrated liquid mixture, and then the stirring, where it is essential to keep flipping the oats, nuts, and cranberries through the liquid mixture to make sure they get thoroughly coated and sticky and can be packed onto the cookie sheet.  You’ll need to use a little elbow grease in that step.  It’s a good recipe, too, because it’s highly flexible.  If you like your granola basic, as I do, you can stick to nuts and dried fruit, but if you want to jazz it up you could add chocolate chips, coconut, cinnamon, or whatever floats your boat.

And here’s another thing about making granola at home — breaking it up after the baking and cooling is actually a lot of fun.

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