Homemade granola

A year or so ago I started making my own granola. Hippy/crunchy jokes aside, I became a huge fan of homemade granola. I never quite understood why tasty granola was always so expensive in the store. $5 or $6 for a small package seems excessive, especially after you learn to make it yourself.

Like a lot of things I make, granola is very easy to change and adapt to your own taste. The recipe below is adapted from many sources, but feel free to try some different combinations of nuts and fruits and see what you like best.
 It makes a great breakfast item and is also filling. I like taking in the entire batch to work and snacking on it for breakfast or whenever I need a snack at my desk.

  • 4 cups oats (use old fashioned for sure. I also like to use some other hot cereals, like 5 grain mixes with oats, rye, barley etc.)
  • 2 cups of nuts and seeds (I usually use 1 cup almond slices and 1 cup cashews)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • dash salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (use any dried fruit you like, I prefer cranberries) 

Heat the oven to 300 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients except the fruit and mix really well.

Spread the oat/nut mixture on a large jelly roll pan or in another large baking dish. Bake for about an 40 minutes, taking care to mix the oats every 10 minutes or so. Bake until the granola reaches your desired level of brownness but take care not to burn it. The edges will get done first so be sure to mix them into the middle.

Remove from the oven and pour the oat mixture back into the mixing bowl. Add the dried fruit and stir well.

Cool in the bowl for a few minutes and then transfer to an airtight container in the freezer--and it will keep forever!