This granola recipe was my mom's recipe and it was a chore getting her to write it down years ago when I first insisted that I must have it. You see, she's an artist in the kitchen and rarely follows a recipe and leads with intuition. The beauty of this recipe is that it is so simple but it is also so versatile which easily allows for different delicious variations. Let's start with the basics.
6 cups old-fashioned (rolled) oats
1-2 cups of chopped almonds, pecans and unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup honey
Pre-heat oven to 275 degrees. Combine the oats and nuts in a large bowl. On low heat, warm brown sugar, vanilla oil and honey in a saucepan. Once sugar is dissolved, pour on to the dry ingredients. Stir well. Once all of the dry ingredients are coated, spread on a jelly roll pan or roasting pan. You may need to use two pans to spread the mixture evenly which will allow for better baking.
Bake for 20 minutes. Stir, bake another 15-20 minutes. Watch carefully to avoid burning. Your granola should have an even golden color. Remove from oven and place pan on a baking rack to cool. Stir a few times while granola is cooling to avoid clumps.
Now here are a few of your promised variations that I love.
- Protein Packed: Sprinkle 1/4 cup ground flax seed and 1/4 cup chia seeds to the granola after you have coated the dry ingredients with the honey mixture and before baking. If you add it to the dry ingredients before adding the honey mixture, the flax seed and chia seeds tend to get too clumpy and don't mix well. This has actually become my regular recipe basis because my kids gobble up this granola and this is an easy way to add extra fiber and protein.
- Nut Free: I've had friends request this without nuts. Simply swap out the nuts and add 2 cups of crispy rice cereal and a mixture of seeds instead. I use sunflower seeds regularly but you can also add sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds.
- Extra nuts: My favorite nuts are almonds and pecans but I've also used walnuts and if you're feeling adventurous, add pistachios! Mix your favorites and take out those you don't like.
- Less sugar: Reduce your sugar and honey to 1/3 cup each and add an extra cup of oats. You'll still have a sweet granola but just a little less sugar.
- Fruity:Add a cup of raisins, craisins, or dried fruit of your choice after your granola has been baked and cooled.