There are a few types of grains that can be used when you make your own granola. Oats are the most popular, so if you choose to go that route, be sure to use only rolled, old-fashioned oats, NOT quick cooking or instant. Old fashioned oats will bake up crispy and golden. Other grain options are flaxseeds, millet, or wheat bran. You can even mix a few types together for added flavor, texture, and nutrients.
Usually raisins or dried cranberries are mixed into granola, but fresh fruit can also be added. Simply chop up whatever fruit you desire like pineapple, apple, blueberries, cherries, apricots, oranges, pomegranate seeds, or bananas and add them to the mix. They will dry up like raisins and other dried fruit and be perfect additions to your granola.
The crunch of nuts and seeds is a must for granola and just about any type can be added. Sunflower seeds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and hazelnuts are all great options, or look around the nut and seed aisle for tasty new options.
Grains, nuts, and fruits will usually suffice for granola, but you can add extras like chocolate chips, caribou chips, coconut flakes, or small pieces of candy. Try adding spices and powders such as cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, cardamom, or cocoa powder. Even ingredients like vanilla or peanut butter will be delicious add-ins. Finally, you should sprinkle just a pinch of salt over the granola before you bake it to bring out the flavors.
To add a hint of sweetness, use both liquid and dry sweeteners; honey, maple syrup, and molasses work great. Use one, two, or a combination of all three. Be sure to use a dry sweetener too like brown sugar, which will help make a nice golden brown color. You can adjust the sweetness by adding more or less brown sugar.
To make the nice clusters you usually find in granola, sprinkle just a bit of water over the top of the prebaked granola and try to form clumps with your hands. When the granola bakes, the clumps will form.
As for baking, bake at a low temperature, 250 to 300 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden and crispy. If you are using dried fruit you should mix it in about halfway through, but if you are using fresh, mix it in at the beginning so it dries.
Use this basic homemade granola recipe and adjust to your own tastes.
Makes 6 servings
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