Right now I have a big pan of granola in my oven. In total I'll have about 12-14 cups of granola for a fraction of the cost of the store bought variety. And, if I do say so myself, mine will taste better :-) At least hubby thinks so too!
Granola is one of those things that isn't hard to make and is super easy to customize according to your family's likes and dislikes. The recipe I use it out of "Whole Foods For the Whole Family" cookbook, but there are many recipes out there.
One Pan Granola
A recipe for granola is as good as your imagination and the ingredients on your pantry shelf.
5-6 cups old fashioned rolled oats
Add 6 cups total of any or all of these:
whole wheat flour
rolled wheat flakes
sunflower, pumpkin, sesame seeds
non-fat dry milk powder
unsalted nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashews, walnuts, pecans)
Options for dry mixture:
1 cup bran
1/2 cup millet
1/4 cup soy grits
2T nutritional yeast
Heat in large roasting pan:
1/2 to 1 cup oil or 2 sticks butter
1/2 to 1 cup honey, molasses or maple syrup or any mixture of these
1/2 cup water
2 t vanilla or almond extract
When liquid mixture is warm and thinned, begin adding dry ingredients; stir each in well with a large wooden spoon. Here's one situation where "too many cooks" are an asset-let all helpers have a turn!
Granola may be toasted right in the roasting-mixing pan! Set oven at 250; bake approximately 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes. You may spread mixture on cookie sheets, too, for shorter baking time (about 30 minutes at 325). Turn with pancake turner at 10 minute intervals. Watch carefully until done to your family's taste; remember granola becomes crisper as it cools in the pan. If you have difficulty getting the mixture to taste cooked, you might try toasting the flours lightly in the oven or by stirring in an iron skillet for a few minutes.
When the cereal is cool, mix in iup to 2 cups of dried apricots, apple, or pineapple, raisin, dates or prunes. Serve "as is" for a snack, with milk or yogurt for breakfast, or create your own granola bars. It makes a thoughtful gift for the mother of a new baby with older children at home, or for friends at holiday time, packed in a decorative tin. Carry along for camping and hikes in little paper bags. Share with squirrels! Quantities of granola are easily adjusted up or down, according to family size. This recipe make about 14 cups.