While oatmeal is the winter breakfast of choice in our household, we switch to granola when the weather warms up (or as soon as we hope it will start warming up). I have made innumerable batches of granola, and finally pared it down to a fast, simple process that I can knock out quickly on Saturday mornings.
There are loads of recipes out there for fantastic, delicious granola. This, however, is a simple granola. It’s good, it’s tasty, but it’s best for feeding your voracious brood rather than impressing an overnight guest.
I make granola for the family once a week on Saturdays, and I have to make 48 cups to last us for 5 breakfasts! Yes, my four children (8, 6, 4, & 2) and husband (I eat eggs!) eat almost 2 cups apiece every morning, with milk. Actually, I think they probably eat about 1 3/4 cups apiece, leaving a generous cup to be scattered about the floor every morning. I buy my oats in 25-pound bags.
So, I am not making some arduous, fruit-and-nut-laden masterpiece in that sort of quantity every week!
No, they get simple granola. And they prefer it simple, anyhow.
Process: How to Make Simple Granola
- Fill your largest mixing bowl 3/4 full of old-fashioned rolled oats.
- Mix 1-2 pounds (depending on the amount of oatmeal and how sweet you like your granola) brown sugar with just enough water to dissolve it all. Mix it into a sugar-slurry, adding in a pinch of salt. If desired, add a splash of vanilla extract.
- Generously pour your oil of choice (canola, light olive, melted butter, coconut) over the oats and give it a little stir.
- Dump in the sugar slurry and mix, mix, mix, until there are no dry oats. Add additional water or oil as needed.
- Dump into a roasting pan with high sides and pat it down.
- Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, stirring and then patting down every 10-15 minutes. All the oats should be toasty before you pull it out.
- If you like individual grains of granola, stir it immediately, then let it cool. If you like clusters of granola, let it cool for 15-20 minutes, then stir it lightly.
This is the basic recipe that can still be spiffied up however you want. None of these are necessary, but you can add them based on preference, taste, and what’s-on-hand:
With the oats, add
- wheat germ
- wheat bran
- oat bran
- ground flax seed
- dried coconut
Halfway through the baking, stir in:
- dried cranberries
- dried dates
- bits of dried apple
- chopped walnuts
- sliced almonds
We eat granola one of two ways:
- As a cold cereal with milk.
- As a plain yogurt topping with fresh or frozen berries.