Jen’s Basic Granola Reserve

Granola is a combination of grains (particularly oats), nuts, dried seeds and fruits seasoned with spices. It makes a terrific breakfast cereal with yogurt or milk. Take some along for a quick pick-me-up snack. Homemade granola is not like the hard clusters found in cereal boxes on the grocery store shelves. Although mixed with a medium it can be made into a portable snack bar or nuggets. I love Jen’s recipe the best for cereal because it is light with a pleasant hint of vanilla. It is not overly sweetened either. The only place I could find unsweetened coconut and real coconut flavoring was at the health food store such as Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.

Jen’s Notes:
“This recipe can also be cooked on Low in a crockpot. It’ll take a couple of hours – stir frequently for even browning. I suppose you could make a half batch, but since it stays good a while and we eat it for breakfast and snacks, I prefer to make a whole recipe.”

Source: Jennifer West
1/2 cup Honey
1 cup Oil
2 teaspoon Vanilla
2 teaspoon Coconut Flavoring
1 cup Dry Milk
3 cups Unsweetened Dried Coconut
7 cups Oats
1/4 cup brown sugar or 1/2 teaspoon Stevia

Combine the liquid ingredients (I use a glass measuring cup because it’s easier to pour into the dry ingredients in the next step) and heat in the microwave for a minute or so while you combine the remaining ingredients.

Stir together the dry ingredients until well mixed. Stir the liquid ingredients in the measuring cup to combine. Slowly pour the liquid ingredients into the oat and coconut mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to stir until liquid ingredients are evenly distributed.

Divide granola between two 13 x 9 baking pans. Smooth out tops for even browning. Bake at 325 for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir to ensure even browning. (I use a spatula to lift and turn the mixture onto itself, working around the outside of the pan, then lifting and turning the cereal in the center.) Redistribute evenly in the pans, smooth the tops and return to the oven. Bake 10 more minutes, and stir again. Bake another 5 minutes and stir. Bake another 5 minutes, if necessary – you want a nice golden brown, but not too dark. After removing from the oven, stir a final time (or the cereal that’s in contact with the pan will get too brown). Makes about 1 gallon.

-Add 1/2 cup each type of chopped nuts if adding more than one: walnuts, almonds, pecans or whole pine nuts. Reduce oil to 3/4 cups.
– 1/2 cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
-Add 1/2 cup dried fruit such as raisins, cherries, blueberries, dates or cranberries. Dried fruit such as apricots will need to be chopped first.
-2 tablespoons wheat germ or flax meal.
-1 tablespoon cinnamon.
-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.