During my visit to my hometown over Thanksgiving weekend, I picked up a bag of some of the most delicious granola I have ever tasted:
I tasted some of the pumpkin spice granola at a local coffee shop and was immediately hooked. I bought the 12 oz. size for around $7.50 and enjoyed every single oat and nut cluster in the whole bag. As the weekend drew nearer, the bag felt lighter and lighter. When I could see the brown paper at the bottom of the sack of granola, I panicked.
I considered stocking up on the stuff (which I highly recommend) but when I added up the cost of 2-3 months’ worth of Michele’s Granola and considered the impending drain on my bank account around the holidays, I figured there had to be a more cost effective way to get my fix. It was time to make some homemade granola. And it was a great way to get the holiday-related baking itch out of my system, without gaining 5 pounds of cookie dough around my midsection.
I burned the first batch while texting my friends about how awesome I was for making my own granola. The second batch was perfection. I did dump a whole batch of burnt granola in the trash, but on the bright side, now I can show you a color reference so you can tell the difference between “too long in the oven” and “just right.”
Speaking of bright sides, I replaced my 100-watt soft white kitchen light bulb with a GE Reveal light bulb, which is supposed to mimic daylight. This is particularly important for photographing your late night cooking and baking adventures for your food blog. No matter how hard I try, I rarely cook an entire dish during the 6 hours of daylight we get this time of year. I thought, “this light bulb will save me!”
At first, the only thing it revealed was the horrifying collection of crumbs on my kitchen floor that I couldn’t even see in normal light. However it also improved the lighting situation for my photos so I am proud to present to you my 11:00 PM granola adventure, in all its GE Reveal glory.
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup unsalted nuts (I used almonds, but any nut will do)
- 1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
- 1/8 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Optional: 1/2 cup other mix-ins (dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc)
1.Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Combine the oats, coconut, nuts, and seeds in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
3. Combine oil and honey over medium heat in a small sauce pan. You may add the brown sugar at this step or in the next one. Bring to a boil then remove from the heat and whisk to combine. It will look a little angry when it starts to boil, but it will be OK. This is necessary to get the honey to jive with all the other ingredients when you toss everything together.
4. Carefully pour the oil-honey mixture over the granola and stir to combine. Add brown sugar if you have not already. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and salt and toss all ingredients together.
5. Pour the granola mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a wooden spoon to spread it into an even layer.
6. Bake in preheated oven for ten minutes, then stir to turn over and return to oven for ten additional minutes at 325 degrees F.
Make yourself a cup of tea while you wait.
7. Remove from oven and sprinkle mix-ins over the top of the granola. Let the granola cool completely on the baking sheet before packing in an airtight container. Granola should keep for 1-2 weeks, although I doubt it will last that long!
I made a few variations of this granola and all varieties made fine accompaniments to our weekend activities. The cinnamon raisin went well with Saturday hiking.
And the gingerbread version was great for Sunday decorating.
When inspiration strikes, I hope you find this granola a fun and easy snack to go along with whatever you get yourself into this winter.
For more holiday baking ideas, check out Brittany’s 12 Days of Cookies over at Eating Bird Food. My persimmon cookies were featured last week, and all of the other cookies she has highlighted look delicious too!