simple granola


So sit down for a minute and let me just tell you about our granola quest.  It’s been going on for a couple of years now, and just when we think we have found the solution, we have had it all pulled out from under us.  To be honest, I had never actually attempted to make granola until a few days ago, so I probably don’t have a lot of room to complain here considering we now have a solution.  And while I guess this was always a possibility before, what I really wanted was a box of granola that was both tasty and economical enough that I didn’t need to be in the kitchen every Saturday morning making a batch of cereal for the week.  Not that I wouldn’t love to do this, just that I plain can’t sometimes.

I started looking for a good brand of granola in college.  I liked to snack on it, and figured then I wouldn’t have to open an entire granola bar when really I just wanted a little taste of something.  But I could never find something I particularly liked.  And y’all.  Granola is expensive, and when I was letting a bag sit in my cabinet because it was “too almondy”…well I just couldn’t do that.

Enter marriage and a husband who likes to eat granola for breakfast every morning.  We started buying a store brand box of granola that we really liked.  It was cheap and probably not that most nutritious that granola can be.  But it was tasty.  And then they had to ruin it all for us a couple of months ago when they tried to make their cereal even cheaper by filling about half the box with rice cereal and leaving the actual granola substance disappointingly low.  (Really, Kroger?)

Since then we’ve been in granola limbo.  I’ve found another brand that we like, but it still seems so expensive to be buying it as often as we do.  Hence, this recipe.

I can’t believe I didn’t make this sooner.  Baking granola is not nearly as complicated as I always thought, what with laundry lists of dried nuts and seeds and such that aren’t regular occupants of my pantry.  And even though this original recipe called for things like sunflower seeds (that I didn’t have) and coconut and dried fruit (that I don’t really like), I made it anyway, leaving all that out and keeping it simple with oats and almonds.  And while I’ll still be buying granola at the store on a pretty regular basis, at least we have this to fall back on.  Actually, at least we have the store-bought stuff to fall back on, because I’m pretty sure this homemade granola is going to become a bit more frequent in our kitchen.

Simple Granola
adapted from the Tupelo Honey Cafe Cookbook

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 40 minutes
Wait Time: 30 minutes

Makes about 8 cups

1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups slices almonds*
1 tablespoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil.
2. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the canola oil and maple syrup.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Then add the vanilla and lower the heat.
3. In a large bowl, combine oats, almonds, and cinnamon (along with anything else you’d like to add to your granola*).
4. Drizzle the syrup mixture over the oats mixture and stir to make sure all of the oats are coated.
5. Spread the mixture out onto the tinfoil lined baking sheet in a single layer (you might need to use two baking sheets for this).  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the granola is golden brown.  Remove the granola from the oven and allow it to cool, about 30 minutes (it will get crunchier as it cools down).  Serve at room temperature.

*The original recipe calls for things like dried fruit and sunflower seeds and also tells you to add toasted coconut at the end.  I preferred to leave these things out, but if you’d like to add them back in (or anything else you think might be delicious), increase your amounts of oil and syrup by a bit.

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