I am trying to get in the habit of making certain things from scratch that I buy regularly. So far hummus and granola are the big winners. Saves tons of money, easy recipes, and it turns out they taste even better than even the good-quality store-bought version. I try to make them every other week and it lasts almost that long.

I have been experimenting with lots of granola recipes and nothing ever comes out in nice clumps. Sometimes I get a few clumps, sometimes none. I like my granola in nice crunchy clumps, and really I haven’t even found a store-bought version that comes close to what I am looking for.

Luckily, I am hooked on a certain food blog-and found this almost perfect recipe. http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/10/pumpkin-butter-and-pepita-granola/

My only problem is that all granola recipes overwhelm me by the number of ingredients which turn out to be 90% optional and that nothing ever clumps right. After many fails, I have discovered that it is imperative NOT to stir the granola once it is out of the oven. I revised the recipe to make it simple and easy to read and added my secret to clumping and now it is time to MAKE GRANOLA!

Basic Granola3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup flaked coconut (I like unsweeted wide chips, but use whatever you have or like or don’t use at all)
¼ cup canola oil
⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup honey
1 cup whole almonds
Cinnamon*
Sea salt*

Make  sure oven rack is in the middle
Pre-heat oven to 375

Stir together all ingredients.

If the mixture looks dry, add more honey. From what I understand, excess oil gets in the way of clumping, so I wouldn’t add extra oil if you like your granola clumpy.

Put the granola mixture in a pan lined with parchment paper (I use a 9×13 pyrex, but whatever fits is fine)

Bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown about 30 minutes

Check after the first 15 minutes, and then check about every five minutes until it is to your liking. This stuff burns fast, so don’t walk away!

Place on a rack to cool

DO NOT STIR! If you want your granola clumpy, ignore all granola recipes you may have read and don’t stir it- at all. You should end up with a giant mass of granola that you can break apart into pieces.

Store it in an airtight container in the freezer. It will stay fresh and last for months, if you can possibly manage not to eat it all on the way to the freezer.

FYI
*I am very generous with cinnamon and sea salt. Start with a pinch and add what you like.

This is just a basic recipe. You can add anything you want. Just remember to stir in dried fruit AFTER baking and BEFORE cooling

Some ideas for variations:

Switch out the almonds for walnuts, add a pinch of nutmeg and some banana chips (I like mine unsweetened, but I suspect I am the only one) and you have yourself some banana-walnut granola

dried cherries and almonds

dare I say dried cherries, almonds, and dark chocolate chunks?

cranberry-walnut

pepitas and a mixture of dried fruit

sunflower seeds and dried fruit

dried tropical fruit mix and macadamia nuts

dried apples and walnuts, raisins and lots of cinnamon

dried blueberry, walnut, and flax seed

pecans and dried mango

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