How to make your own granola cereal

How to make your own granola cereal

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Cereal is getting to be quite expensive at the grocery store, and if you take a look at the list of ingredients you you might find yourself wondering at the necessity of it all.

I mean–what is tripotassium phosphate anyway?

I looked it up–tripotassium phosphate is an emulsifier or foaming agent used in food processing.

Besides that is the fact that it’s exceedingly difficult to buy a box of cereal at the main-stream grocery store without modified ingredients (read: containing genetically modified constituencies).  And if you did manage to find a GMO-less cereal, I expect it will be in one of those smaller boxes and cost an arm and a leg.

Enter granola.

To avoid GMOs, I’ve deemed it necessary to either buy 100% organic food products, or to make the food myself.  And in many cases, homemade is cheaper, of higher quality, and customizable to your family’s tastes.

Already I bake our breads, and while I’ve tried my hand at making my own granola cereal–my determination to never walk down the cereal isle again has only solidified recently–so now it’s time to get serious!

Summer loves granola.  He will eat it for breakfast.  He will eat it for a snack.  Even Winter and hubby will happily eat granola.

How to make granola

Granola is easy to make, it’s inexpensive, customizable, variable, and good for you too!  Everybody knows that oats are good for the body–and when you add all those delicious dried fruits and and healthful nuts to your granola–you’re essentially creating a supercharged super-food.

Here is my basic recipe:granola ingredients

3 cups oats

1/3 cup oat flour

1/2 cup chopped nuts and/or seeds

1 cup dried fruits

1/4 cup wheat germ

granola ingredients honey cinnamon
My favorite sweetener–honey from my hives–along with cinnamon.

1 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup cooking oil

2 tablespoons warm water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Start by turning on the oven to 250-degrees to allow it to come to temperature while you are preparing the granola, then lightly grease a cookie sheet.

granola dry ingredientsIn a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, flour, nuts, seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, and the wheat germ.

granola wet ingredientsIn another bowl combine the honey, oil, water, salt, and vanilla.  Whisk it all together, then pour it over the oat mixture, and stir it in.  Spread the granola out onto the cookie sheet.

Bake the granola for 1 hour, stirring it every 15 minutes until it is golden brown.

There is some dispute about whether to use quick-oats or old-fashioned oats.  Some say using old fashioned oats results in a crisp, golden granola, while the quick oats cluster better–but the texture of the granola will be powdery and taste like raw starch.  We’ve tried it both ways, and the family seems to like it with either type of oats.

The oat flour and the wheat germ are nice additions that helps the cereal to cluster better.  When you add a teensy bit of water to your liquid sweeteners, it all mixes with the flour and wheat germ to create a tasty bonding agent.  Squeeze the cereal with your hands before you bake it, to seal the bond and form small clumps.

You can use this recipe as a guide, and make any number of substitutions or alterations.  For example, some folks like to use maple syrup instead of brown sugar or honey, but you could also try a combination of honey and maple syrup, or honey and molasses, etc.  I’ve even seen some recipes that use coconut oil and banana chips or dried pineapple to give the granola a tropical taste.  Just remember that if you plan to serve your granola with milk or yogurt, it needs to be sweet enough to carry the dairy too.

homemade granola
Homemade granola fresh from the oven.

The combinations of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits are endless, just wait to add the fruit to the granola til it’s almost done cooking.  It can get dried out and will be rubbery if you cook the fruit with the granola the entire time.

Storing granola

Store the granola in an air tight container such as a mason jar, ziplock bag, or any such container.  It should keep quite well for 2-3 weeks–the dried fruits can sometimes shorten the shelf life of granola, but if your family is anything like mine a batch of granola this size won’t last that long anyway!

How do you feel about homemade cereal vs. the stuff from the store?  Have you ever tried your hand at making granola?  Is it worth the time and effort?

Share your thoughts, comments or questions!

Runamuk Acres Conservation Farm
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