Monday, March 9, 2009

Mom's Homemade Granola

I decided to make granola today but didn't have all the ingredients to experiment with Debi's new recipe.

So, I just went with the one I've always used. This is my mom's recipe, and I've always liked it. You can certainly improvise if you want by substituting your favorite items in it.

Put dry ingredients in a very large bowl and mix together:
14 c. rolled oats (use mainly whole oats but a few cups of quick won't hurt)
2 c. wheat germ
2 c. oat bran
8 oz. package sliced, unsalted almonds
(If I am out of wheat germ and oat bran, I just use 18 cups of oats; you could also use seeds or whatever else you wanted to try).

In a separate bowl, mix the following together:
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon each of salt and vanilla
3/4 cup oil (I use canola)
1 1/4 cup water
1 cup honey or molasses (I use honey)
Almond extract. Amount used depends on how much you like the flavor of it. I have found that 1 Tablespoon gives the granola a hint of flavor, 1 1/2 Tablespoons gives more than a hint, and 2 Tablespoons makes the flavoring pronounced. I tend to stick with 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons.

When the wet ingredients are all mixed together, pour over and mix into the dry ingredients. Spread onto 2 cookie sheets. Bake at about 285. I rotate the pans from top to bottom about every 20-30 minutes and stir the granola each time. Total baking time is about 2 to 2 1/2 hours; You want it golden and a little crunchy but not dark.

Other ideas: I have put about 1 pound of raisins in AFTER baking. I have found that baking the raisins makes them too hard. You could experiment with dried apples, coconut, Craisens, or other nuts and fruits. Debi put Craisens in her batch and I really liked it, so I am going to try that as soon as I buy some!

Update: This is the second time I've made this granola since moving into our new house (thus a different oven). I think it bakes differently in an electric oven than in a gas. I'm almost 2 hours into baking and it's looking almost done and I've just dropped the temp to about 240 degrees. So, if you make this recipe, watch it closely and adjust cooking time and/or temp if you feel it is needed, and stir more frequently as it nears the end.

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