Our family LOVES granola. For years we’ve tried different recipes, because we like a crunchy granola that doesn’t soften up too quickly in milk. I ended up developing my own recipe. (I have a soaked grains adaptation of this recipe.)
Mix together in a large bowl:
- 12-16 cups rolled oats (quick or old-fashioned)
- 2 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
- 2 cups slivered almonds or any chopped nuts (can omit)
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1½ tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. salt
Stir together in another bowl, then pour over dry ingredients:
- 1½ cups water
- 1½ cups packed brown sugar
- ½ cup oil or melted butter
- 2 eggs, beaten (can omit, but is the secret to clumps)
- 2 tsp. vanilla
Note: I use honey or sucanat now, in place of the brown sugar. You can also use leftover maple syrup, or whatever you have on hand, adjusting the liquid accordingly, to make it all stick together.
Mix everything together well with your hands, making sure all is coated with the liquid mixture. It should be a little sticky. If you like lots of crunchy clumps in your granola, use the smaller amount of oats and make sure it really sticks together. Add extra water and flour if needed.
Spread on baking pans, cookie sheets, or dehydrator trays, depending on how you are going to bake it.
There are several ways you can bake it:
- Bake at 350° F in an oven,
stirring every 10 minutes or so, watching for burning,
until toasted the way you like it, or
- Bake at 170° F in an oven,
without stirring, until thoroughly dry and crispy, or
- Bake/dry in a dehydrator at 145° F for 4-8 hours until dry and crunchy.
Most of the time, I use my 9-tray Excalibur dehydrator for drying my granola. A double batch of the recipe above will fill the entire dehydrator. If I can’t fit it all in the dehydrator, I bake the excess in my oven at 170° so I don’t have to stir.
Cool the granola. A clean counter top is a great place to cool a lot of granola quickly. If you’ve never seen 5+ gallons of granola (4 times this recipe), this is what it looks like. My kitchen island worked perfectly for the job, and had plenty of room for mixing in the dried fruit. To store, I simply channeled it off the edge of the counter into a 5-gallon bucket.
Add optional dried fruit. This granola is delicious with or without dried fruit – we usually add it. The amounts here are approximate.
- 1-2 cups raisins
- 1-2 cups other dried fruit combination
Our basic dried fruit combo is 2 cups of raisins, 1 cup (or 1 box) of chopped dates, and 1 cup of dried cranberries for color. We’ve also played with some variations:
- Tropical – dried banana, pineapple, and coarsely shredded sweetened coconut
- Apple-Cinnamon – raisins, dried apples, use walnuts for the chopped nuts, add extra cinnamon
Use your own preferences and imagination! You can’t mess up the dried fruit combo part of this recipe. 🙂 Many times I’ve just stored the granola and added fruit as we serve it, although we tend to go through more dried fruit that way.
Store in an air-tight container. I’ve used ziploc bags, plastic containers, and 5 gallon buckets. If the granola is really dry, you should have no problem storing it at room temperature. If you prefer, you may also freeze or refrigerate it. Ours never lasts long enough to worry about refrigerated storage.
We eat this for breakfast cereal, sprinkle it over yogurt or ice cream, or just grab a handful and munch away. We have little children, and too often end up with leftovers. We are not squeamish about saving it, so we scrape all the leftover granola and milk into one bowl, add a little extra milk, and let it sit in the refrigerator. It “rehydrates” quite nicely and makes a muesli-like snack for whoever is hungry, especially ravenous 14-year-old boys.