I’m not really sure why it took me so long to try making homemade granola. Maybe it was all the recipes calling for more butter than I wanted on my breakfast cereal. Perhaps it was the delicious granola readily available at the local health food store. I mean why make your own when it’s so easy to buy?
That’s actually exactly why making your own granola is such a good idea. No matter how good the store-bought granola is, the plastic packaging it comes in is terrible. Yes, of course you can bring your own bag (see that post here), and switch to the granola from the bulk food section. The problem for me, though, is that they don’t sell my favorite granola in bulk. Time to try to make my own.
After a lot of research (there’s always a lot of research), and a bit of experimenting, I’m happy to say that I now have a delicious recipe to share! I’m also happy to say that homemade granola is incredibly easy to make. In about five minutes of active time, and 30 minutes in the oven, you’ll have six cups (or so) of delicious, homemade granola. By getting everything from the bulk food section, you can even go plastic-free! Here’s what you need:
- 4-5 Tablespoons butter (5 tastes better, 4 is more heart-healthy)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups rolled oats (not quick-cook)
- 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1/2 raw pumpkin seeds
- 3/4 cup pecans
- 1/2 cup wheat bran
Here’s how to make homemade granola
This is really such a simple process you will probably wonder, as I did, why you never tried it before. The first step is to pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
While the oven is heating, put the wet ingredients into a saucepan or microwavable bowl:
Gently heat them until the butter is completely melted. Stir to combine.
At the same time, gather all of the dry ingredients:
Then, roughly chop the pecans into small pieces:
Next, measure and pour all of the dry ingredients onto a large, ungreased baking tray:
Use a spatula to stir everything together until well-combined. The wheat bran will tend to sink to the bottom, which is why the spatula helps.
Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients:
Then, use the spatula to mix everything together. You will know that it is well-mixed when the oats and bran both look darker.
Last, spread the mixture on the tray in an even layer and put it in the oven. Stir the granola three times during the baking to help everything brown more evenly.
The total baking time should be about 25-30 minutes. You know your homemade granola is done when it’s golden brown and lightly crispy:
Let the granola cool completely on the tray before putting it into tightly-sealed containers for storage.
Serving suggestions for homemade granola
Six cups may seem like a lot of granola, but this stuff is so good that it disappears quickly. Beyond the obvious use as a delicious breakfast cereal:
homemade granola makes a great snack. Try adding 1/2 cup chopped, dried cherries to the mix before baking. I have found the cherries make it a little sticky in storage, though, since they don’t quite loose all of their moisture. It’s still delicious, just not as crisp.
Of course you can also use this granola as a base for GORP, or trail mix. I know GORP stands for ‘granola, oats, raisins, and peanuts’, but I’m not a fan of raisins, so I use other dried fruit instead. Also, whoever invented GORP (click here for a few fun facts), clearly forgot the chocolate. How can you forget chocolate?
You can even make different versions, now that you know the basic method. If you keep the same proportions of each type of ingredient, then the flavors, and texture, should still balance.
Tips and tricks
- The granola might stick together in the storage canister at first. If you shake it to loosen it, then it should stay loose after that. If it does clump again, then you probably need to bake it a little longer the next time.
- Some granola recipes say the granola can only be stored for a week. While I eat it pretty quickly, I’ve had mine for two weeks, or a little longer, without any trouble. I think the trick is to make sure it is baked long enough to remove any moisture. Of course it never hurts to check for signs of spoilage if you have had your granola in storage for more than a week or two.
After having so much fun with the granola, I turned my anti-plastic gaze to the yogurt tubs. Could homemade yogurt really be worth the trouble? As it turns out, it is. I’ve done it a few times now, and it’s actually really simple. The two articles I found most helpful were from The Washington Post (click here) and from Epicurious (click here). Then just add some homemade strawberry jam (click here), and Bob’s your uncle.
I’m feeling really good about my new plastic-free breakfast routine, and I hope you will too!
As always, feel free to ask questions or leave comments. Don’t forget to subscribe to Creatorvox to get new posts right in your email. You can also follow Creatorvox on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more tips and tricks between posts. Thanks for reading, and happy making!