My gluten-free teenage daughter asked to make granola with me this past weekend, so we pulled out the recipe I have been using for years to make the Best. Homemade. Granola (ever) and we made a batch together.
Two great things about this healthy granola are that it can be customized to your tastes and dietary needs, and it can be made ahead of time and frozen in containers to be pulled out for last minute (or planned ahead) Christmas presents or a hostess gift when the occasion arises.
I like to make big batches in the fall, put it in cute decorated containers (recycled, of course!), keep it in the freezer, and pull out ready-made gifts when the busy season of Christmas comes around. And it’s a great project that kids of any age can help with and thereby participate in the making and giving of gifts.
The granola requires 10 cups of dry ingredients. If you don’t like nuts or are allergic to them or any ingredient, simply substitute a cup of something you do like or substitute another cup of rolled oats. If you are gluten free, make sure you have gluten free certified oats, and substitute ground flax for the wheat germ, as we did. You could add chia seeds or pumpkin seeds. You get the idea. This is what we used:
- 6 cups oatmeal (We like 4 c. old fashioned and 2 c. quick cooking)
- 1 cup unsalted nuts of your choice, raw or roasted
- 1 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
- 1 cup wheat germ or ground flax
- 1 cup raw unsweetened coconut
Measure all the dry ingredients into a large bowl, and stir until evenly mixed. Ideally, I use raw and unsalted, unsweetened varieties of nuts, seeds and coconut, but you can use what you have on hand. We used sweetened coconut from the baking section because it was what available. I have used salted nuts also. I like to buy the ingredients in bulk (and organic) at the health food store, but whatever is at the grocery store or in your cupboard will work in a pinch. You really can’t mess this up — use what you have and what you like — just make sure you use 10 cups total. If you want to add dry fruit, wait — that comes later.
In a 2 cup glass measuring cup (or other container) thoroughly combine the following:
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 t. vanilla
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 T. cinnamon
- 1 t. salt (reduce if using salted ingredients)
Pour over your dry ingredients and mix until it is all coated and moist. Divide granola evenly onto 2 large greased baking sheets and put them into an oven heated to 300 degrees. Bake approximately 60 to 75 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. The granola is done when it is brown and toasted-looking and feels almost dry to the touch. It should feel all the way dry once it has cooled.
Transfer the granola back to the large bowl to cool. If you leave it on the trays, it might stick (ahem – spoken from experience!). Once the granola has fully cooled to room temperature you can add dried fruit such as raisins, dried cranberries or apple bits. I use 2 cups dried fruit to 10 cups granola, but again you can do what you like best.
Now it is ready to packaged up and tucked away for gifts. Or eaten and enjoyed, of course!