Basic Homemade Granola

The first time I had homemade granola, it was a gift from a friend. It was gingerbread flavored and it was amazing. I always had it in my head that making my own granola wasn’t practical or cost efficient — boy, was I wrong.

Once you figure out a good base, the options for making your own are only as limited as your inner hippie. (That’s a joke. You don’t have to be a hippie to make granola.) (But it’s ok if you are a hippie. I like hippies.)

Below you’ll find what I use as my base. I’ll recommend some substitutions for you and then give you some ideas to kickstart your granola prowess.

First, some tips/guidelines:
Save a large container with a lid to store your granola in. Back when we had our Costco membership, we bought a lot of nuts. Since it’s Costco and everything is huge, they came in really large containers that held 2.5 lbs worth of nuts. I saved those containers like I was prepping for the apocalypse. (Removed the label and ran them through the dishwasher.) They are perfect for bulk bin anything. They’re large, so they hold a lot, and they have a wide mouth, so I can scoop stuff out with my measuring cups. One of those containers is the perfect size for 1 batch of granola. (I also use those containers for my rolled oats, dried beans, various grains, etc. Love them!)

Purchase your ingredients from the bulk bin section of your grocery store. I know, I know, here I go again with my bulk bin preaching. Seriously though, it will save you so much money.

You need a pretty large baking sheet. Mine is 11×17 and says it holds 11 cups. What you’re looking for is a metal cookie sheet that has sides to it, to keep everything from falling to the bottom of your oven and catching the house on fire. Nifty little invention. I would really recommend you invest in one of these (mine was around $11 at JCP) instead of using a glass cake pan. I use this pan for just about everything, so I promise it won’t end up being a single-purpose kitchen gadget.

Also, the amount of servings you get from this will just depend on how much you eat at a time. With my husband and I both eating some everyday, it usually lasts at least a week. We sprinkle it over yogurt/chia pudding, so it’s not like we’re eating a big bowl of it. (Although I’ve eaten a bowl of it with milk before and it’s tasty that way too.) I’ve stored it in my pantry for up to 2 weeks and it’s stayed fresh. I think it’d go a little longer than that even, but we’ve always ate it all before then. You can always double or triple up, if you have a big family of granola eaters.

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Basic Granola Recipe



4 cups rolled oats (not quick or thick or steel, just rolled)
1 cup pecans, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
1/2 cup flax seeds, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor (not fully ground into a powder)***
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, stir together the rolled oats, pecans and flax seeds. Set aside.

In a small pot over low (#3) heat, stir together the remaining ingredients. Cook, stirring periodically, until the coconut oil has melted and everything is fully incorporated. (It’s ok if the sugar isn’t totally melted in.)

Pour into the bowl with the oat mixture and stir well, until everything is fully coated. Spread out onto a large, edged baking sheet.

Bake at 300F for 10 minutes, stir, 10 more minutes, stir, 10 more minutes. (Total cooking time of 30 minutes.) Remove from oven and allow to cool completely, without stirring. Once cool, transfer to an airtight container.

***Purchase whole flax seeds and grind them yourself before using them — just enough to break them open, but not turn them into a flour. There’s research that you don’t get the full benefit from flax, if you eat them whole. Totally ground flaxseed can give you a weird texture though.

Variations:
Substitute almonds for the pecans and stir in 3/4 dried cranberries right before the last 10 minutes of baking.

Substitute walnuts for the pecans and stir in 3/4 cup chopped, dried bananas right at the last 10 minutes of baking.

Substitute 1/2 cup whole pumpkin seeds for 1/2 cup pecans.

Substitute whole chia or hemp seeds for any or all of the flax seeds.

Substitute some shredded coconut for some of the flax seeds. Stir in some dried pineapple and mango right before the last 10 minutes of baking.

The options truly are endless, guys. Happy granola making!

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