I attempted to make granola a number of times last year but never met with success. I would typically just forget about tending to it until the telltale scent of overcaramelization sent me scurrying to the oven, inevitably minutes too late. Since granola needs a stir every 10 or 15 minutes to ensure an even toast, there’s not much room for absentmindedness. Dismayed, disheartened, discouraged, I had all but given up on that elusive batch of homemade granola until a recent post by David Lebovitz inspired me to give it one more go. I am thankful I did.
adapted from Feast by Nigella Lawson
— makes about 2 lbs or 8-10 servings —
5 cups old-fashioned oats
2 to 3 cups roasted and salted nuts, crushed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chocolate chips, shoot for quality over quantity
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons honey ginger syrup
Preheat the oven to 300F (150C).
1. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, nuts, seeds if using, and cinnamon.
2. In a small saucepan warm the fruit puree, honey and butter.
3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix well, then divide and spread the mixture evenly on a baking sheet.
4. Bake for 45 minutes to one hour, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes, until the granola is deep golden brown.
5. Remove from oven, then cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
I made a number of adjustments to the recipe, omitting salt since my nuts were salted, swapping honey ginger jelly for the ground ginger, chocolate chips for the sugar, and butter for the veg oil, all of which I will do again. The results were very, very good; Lebovitz suggests using almonds but I went with a combination of almonds, cashews, macadamias, and hazelnuts for variety. I have never been a fan of raisins in granola; however, chocolate chips were a no brainer. I do think the sunflower seeds would have been a prudent addition, and flax seeds would also work well here (A, that’s for you). This granola is a superior alternative to packaged breakfast cereal. I forget where I saw it but I recently read an article on studies demonstrating the health dangers of processed cereals. One actually found that rats fed processed breakfast cereal died earlier than rats raised only on the cardboard box that the cereal was packaged in. You read that correctly. Also, I genuinely think this granola recipe marks the beginning of the end of buying breakfast cereal for me. Lebovitz calls it his “top granola recipe” and it definitely has lasting potential. I wonder, could this be the cereal of my dreams? Maybe that’s pushing it but for now, it’s goodbye Total and hellooooooo nurse (animaniacs, anyone?)!
I want to emphasize the economic advantage of making your own granola. I actually frown in disapproval over the prices of granola at the store. Between pre-made granola and salad dressing it’s unclear to me which is the bigger waste of money, though that’s not to say I haven’t fallen for buying both. But I don’t buy either now because they’re not justifiable choices. Yes, it takes time to make but in light of the $20+ it would cost to buy the same quantity of granola, I will sacrifice that hour of poring over the oven most obligingly. Plus, use the time wisely and make a hefty batch that will last you at least a week.