Saturday, May 18, 2013

We're pretty granola

I make a lot of granola. I used to bake it, but now I own a dehydrator and I can make 3 lbs in it at once, which is a good amount for my family my husband. Actually, I make 2 batches in 2 different flavors, one for him, one for the girls and myself. It's healthy yet affordable, and creates much less waste than the countless cereal boxes we used to go through.

I have formulated this recipe to be 'generic', so maybe don't make a full batch for your first try. Try combinations of nuts, seeds and sweeteners to see what you and your family prefer!

Honey, almond, coconut, vanilla granola
Molasses, pumpkin & sunflower seed, walnut, cinnamon granola
Recipe and Instructions: 

Mix in very large bowl:
2 lbs organic oldfashioned rolled oats (buy in bulk, e.g. Bob's Mill on amazon)
2 cups small things (e.g. sesame seeds, ground flax meal, wheat or oat bran, wheat germ, coconut shreds)
2 cups nutty things (e.g. chopped walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds)
Whole foods also sells bulk oats
Walnuts, flax seed, wheat germ, sesame, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed
Mix in smaller bowl:

1 cup water
1/4 to 1/2 cup molasses, maple syrup, honey, agave nectar or a mix of them, depending how sweet you like it
1/2 cup brown sugar (regular sugar if using molasses)
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tsp to 2 Tbsp Vanilla
1-2 Tbsp Cinnamon (optional)

Mix the liquids into the solids with a large wooden spoon.

Now you have two choices. My favorite way these days is to dehydrate it at 145F for a few hours. I have a 5-tray Excalibur that can fit this recipe on 3 trays in thick layers, or 5 trays for quicker results.

If you don't own a dehydrator, you can just as easily bake it in ~2" layers at low temp (325F works for me) on convection if you have it, until it's dry and crunchy (stir as necessary or every 10 minutes), which will take 30-40 minutes. I used tinfoil lasagne pans for this, and reused them for a long time. The trick here is to stick with the task and not let it burn at the very end, ahem. Oh, you don't get distracted easily? Never mind, then. 

Molasses, assorted nuts and seeds, white choc chips, cranberries
You can add chocolate chips when the baked granola is lukewarm, so that they partially melt. I consider myself a genius for coming up with this, since it wasn't included in any other granola recipe I have found :-). My husband loves this, unsurprisingly. It was part of my original game plan to wean him off boxed cereal.
You can also add dried fruit after baking. I like a combination of white chocolate chunks and dried cranberries.

Recipe variations: 
The molasses option results in a stronger, darker flavor. It's my husband's favorite, combined with pumpkin seeds and walnuts. My kids and I love a variation with almond, coconut, honey and no cinnamon, just vanilla. I tell the kids the beauty of homemade is that you can get it 'just so'.

Money saving hints: 
Sunflower seeds are the cheapest 'nutty' ingredient. Trader Joe's has the best prices for nuts in general.

Oh, and when that dehydrator runs? The house smells heavenly. Yankee candle doesn't make that scent.

I shared this post at: 
The Self Sufficient HomeAcre


  1. Sounds yummy!!!! I have been using coconut oil in my granola lately. I need to make more soon. I'll have to try these.

    Love your pictures!

    1. Thanks Kristina! I have tried Coconut oil, too, and like it! You have to melt it a little first, of course.

  2. I'm going to do this! I hate buying boxed cereal, then have Amie eat a quarter of it then go off it. I also have a dehydrator, so it should be a singe to just copy and paste!