Some time last year I was crunching a box of spendy store-bought granola and thought, “Waaaait a minute; I can make this stuff! I don’t have to waste all this money on corn syrup and BHT and methylchloroisothiazolinone*.” (Ever wonder how the stuff you buy in the store stays fresh in the months between the time it’s manufactured in the factory** and the time you eat it? Eew.)
Granola has acquired something of a bad name because of its association in the vernacular with vapid environmentalism. While I don’t hug trees, I do love granola. It’s cheap, healthy, cheap, delicious, cheap, filling, and cheap; and its variety can be almost infinite. (I grew up on unbaked granola and never liked it; but that’s okay—it’s still granola.) And did I mention it’s cheap?
After months of experimenting, here’s the variety we like best.
Heat 1/2 cup butter, 1/3 cup honey, and 3/4 cup of packed brown sugar and heat until it’s melted together.
In a large bowl combine the following:
7 cups rolled oats (not Quick Oats)
1 cup chopped pecans (or almonds: we have a nut-chopper so can buy raw whole nuts at the store)
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1/2 cup coconut
Mix well and add the liquid mixture to it, toss to coat, and bake at 325 for 25 minutes on two well-greased cookie sheets. This yields enough to feed our army for some time, so you may want to half the batch. When baked, remove from oven and scrape immediately into a non-plastic bowl and let it cool. Store in an airtight container. If you try to scrape it off the cookie sheets once it’s cool, you won’t be able to. You’d need methylchloroisothiazolinone to get it off.
*I learned this word from my friend Jeff when I was about 15. It’s one of the ingredients in shampoo, but it’s not the longest word I ever learned. That honor belongs to pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, followed by floccinaucinihilipilification, and then that old chestnut, antidisestablishmentarianism. “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” doesn’t count.
**Now really, do you want to eat food made in a factory? Blah! (Froot Loops don’t count; I have a bowl of those once a year or so, and by the time I’m done with it I’m good for another year.) I smirk every time I see the word “natural” or “healthy” slapped on a tray of frozen goo. Did I ever tell you about the time I was at corporate headquarters of Kraft “Foods” in Illinois? No? Half the employees were walking around in white lab coats. They were chemists, not cooks!