Pre-kids, my idea of a perfect Friday evening involved oats, Cat Stevens, and Sierra Nevada. That reality no longer exists, but I come back to that serene-ness every time I’m in need of granola. Which is often. Grocery store granola will never be the same.
Inspiration comes from Ina Garten, Deb Perleman (a.k.a., smitten kitchen), and a cookbook gifted to me by a dear family friend. Once you get your desired mixture of oats, oil and sweetener down, you really can make endless combos of your favorite textures and flavors.
And maybe with a little Cat Stevens in the background.
2-3 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 to 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
1-2 cups unsalted nuts (cashews, pecans, walnuts, almonds, etc.)
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 TBSP to 1/4 cup canola or olive oil (or similar)
1/2 tsp (or to taste) coarse salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla (optional)
zest of orange (optional)
AFTER BAKING, ADD IN…
dried fruit (cherries, cranberries, mangos, apricots, raisins, etc.)
seeds, toasted, salted or not (pumpkin, sunflower, etc.)
Preheat oven to 300°F. Combine oil, syrup, salt and other spices, if using. Add oats, coconut and nuts. Mix well. [SEE NOTE BELOW]
Spread on cookie sheet and bake 35-45 minutes depending on desired toasty-ness, stirring every 10 minutes or so.
Stir in additional add-ins to taste. Let cool and store in air tight container for a week or so. The batch is large, so I usually freeze half so it keeps longer…
Serve with yogurt, fruit, dulce de leche, or by the handful. You’ll be so happy with yourself when you do.
NOTE: You can combine everything listed above and have a delicious granola on hand. Or, depending on your mood, select from above. The more oil you have, the “crispier”, almost fried, the oats will be. You can also toast the nuts separately and add in after baking the oats…but if you’re like me, that feels like too many extra steps. Plus, I like all of the flavors mixed into every bite.