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Bringing granola to the masses

I can own up to the name, so I’m going to go ahead and say it: I’m a granola. That’s not granola in the sense of the all-natural organic food rides-a-bike-and-doesn’t-wear-shoes-or-deodorant-stringy-haired hippy, but “granola” in the purest sense: I make my own granola.

But hippies aren’t the only people who like granola, and I say that anyone who eats granola should be making their own.  It’s simply too easy and inexpensive not to. Hence, Annie’s Basic Granola:

8 cups oatmeal

1 cup olive oil

1 cup honey

+ Any and as many add-ins as you please: flax seed, wheat germ, whey protein, chopped walnuts, almonds, shredded coconut, etc.

To cook, heat oil and honey together until they are combined.  In a bowl, mix oats with add-ins. Pour ¾ of the oil mixture over the oats.  Stir until the oats are completely coated and spread them onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Drizzle the remaining oil mixture over the oats (this will create the delicious clumps of oats that are my favorite part). Bake for 40 minutes at 275° or until golden, stirring every 10 minutes. This amount makes about 2 gallon-sized ziplocs.

You can play with the honey/oil mixture a bit, as long as you keep a 1:1 ratio of sticky sweet-oil. Different oils will have different flavors as well as different nutritional content; for example, olive oil has a rich buttery flavor, but is much higher in fat than basic vegetable oil. Many people also use substitutes for honey, such as maple syrup or molasses, which will also flavor the granola differently.

As far as add-ins go, I tend to add at least one protein or fiber additive, such as wheat germ, flax seed or whey protein.

I also almost always add a nut of some sort, but I’m a purist, so I don’t usually add more than one kind. A cup and a half of almonds is just about perfect for me. Coconut is also a favorite ingredient, so there’s always at least a cup of that in my granola.

Don’t worry about adding too many “extra” ingredients; this recipe is designed so that you can’t throw off the ratio.

Lots of people like to add dried fruit, which is fantastic. I’m a raisin fanatic, but my family prefers blueberries. Be sure to add the fruit after the granola is cooked, because if you cook dried fruit it will turn into molar-busting pebbles.

Enjoy, and I’ll see you in the bulk grains section of the Met, you hippie.