For shortcut, homemade granola, you need only equal amounts of homemade toasted oats and any commercial granola. For from-scratch granola, variations are endless and include either toasted or raw oatmeal -- German muesli exemplifies the raw version -- granola made with or without sugar, honey or maple syrup and granola made with or without oil. Once you experiment with different spices and spice combinations, you can soon have granola options for every day of the week.
Granola often begins with toasted rolled oats, but you can also opt for combinations of rolled barley or rye from the bulk foods section of your grocery. The longer you toast the oats, the more nutty flavor and crunchy texture you have.
For plain granola, with no sweetener, no oil or nuts, with fruit added after cooking:
- Spread the oats about 1/4 inch thick on a cookie sheet.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring once halfway through cooking.
More Ingredients and Combinations
Traditional granola comes with additional ingredients baked along with the oatmeal:
- Use a ratio of 3 parts oats, 2 parts each dried berries and nuts, 1/2 to 1 part honey or syrup and 3 tablespoons of butter or oil.
- Thoroughly mix together all the ingredients except the fruit and bake them as you would plain oats.
- Stir in the fruit after the granola has cooled.
Alternatively, add fruit and toasted nuts to your cereal bowl from a separate container to minimize the chances of the ingredients sinking to the bottom of the granola container.
If you prefer granola with largish clumps instead of loose and separate oats, you can add some extra steps to a basic granola recipe. After you've mixed all the traditional ingredients together in a large bowl, stir in 1 egg white, whisked until it's foamy, for every 3 cups of oats. Bake the mixture as usual; once the granola cools completely you can break it into clumps.
Once your granola has completely cooled, transfer it from the cookie sheet to an airtight container, such as a glass jar or plastic cereal container, and store it at room temperature in your cupboard. Select a container with a large enough opening to allow a measuring cup to fit as you scoop out your daily breakfast. The oats lose some crispness after 2 weeks, but the granola is safe to eat for 2 to 3 months.