Mr. Picky's Granola
Crunch, crunch, crunch. That’s the sound of my husband eating homemade granola at 7:30 a.m., before he leaves for work.
I’ve been making my own granola for about a year now because the oat, fruit and nut concoctions in the supermarket are really expensive or they contain unhealthy amounts of sugar and fat.
Homemade granola is easy to make once you come up with a recipe that pleases your family.
My husband, who is also known as Mr. Picky, turned up his nose at my first attempts.
“It’s not crunchy enough,” he said. “And I don’t like raisins or coconut.”
Once I threw in some chopped dates.
“What are those little brown things? They stick to my teeth. Don’t like ’em,” he announced another morning.
I love raisins and adore coconut. So, the granola recipe that’s detailed below would not be my favorite, but my spouse has given it his lip-smacking approval.
The basic recipe came from “The Complete Tightwad Gazette” by Amy Dacyczn, but I made several alterations, including reducing the amount of sugar.
Mr. Picky’s Extra-Crunchy Granola
1⁄2 cup brown sugar
1⁄3 cup canola oil
1⁄3 cup honey
5 cups Old-Fashioned Quaker Oats, not quick oats
1⁄2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt (optional)
1 cup walnuts, lightly chopped, or walnut pieces
1⁄2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix oil, brown sugar and honey in a small pan and warm over low heat until sugar is dissolved.
Combine the oats, dry milk, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.
Pour sugar mixture over dry mixture and mix well.
Scoop onto parchment paper and flatten the mixture a little with a wooden spoon.
Bake for 15 minutes, then check. DO NOT STIR the mix. Bake until it looks light brown and crispy, about 10 more minutes, and just keep checking it.
Remove from oven, but DO NOT STIR. Let the pan rest undisturbed until completely cool.
Gently crack into big pieces, as if it were peanut brittle or chocolate bark, and scoop into a storage container.
Mix in the walnuts, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries.
(NOTE: In many granola recipes, the nuts are baked in the oven with the oat mix, but I’ve found that when you’re making your granola extra-crunchy, the nuts start to burn during the longer baking time.)
Serve for breakfast with milk or use as a topping for yogurt or ice cream.
If you wish, be creative, adding or substituting different fruits and nuts.
Possibilities include slivered or sliced almonds, cashew pieces, coconut, golden or regular raisins, chopped dates, chopped dried apricots, dried cherries or blueberries.
Fresh fruits in season, like chopped pear, peach or apple, can also be added at serving time.