Monday, September 21, 2009

My Prize Granola Recipe

After thinking about it long and hard, I decided that you, my bloggy friends, should have my prize recipe for granola. I didn't actually win a prize with it -- but it's my most popular shared recipe among my friends. That counts for something!

I know you need recipes that are easy, nutritious and inexpensive. This one is divine -- simple to make, flexible according to what's in the pantry, and very healthy. My granola has no added fat, no added preservatives, and is very low in sodium. It's also quick: I can mix up a batch in ten minutes and do something else while it bakes.

Before you start, let's talk about shopping. Wal-mart has a great deal on oats. Generally, their own store brand runs between $2 and $3 for a 42-ounce box. I cannot discern any real difference in quality compared to name brands. (Sorry, Quaker.) I also buy my brown sugar and frozen apple juice there.

To make the granola, you should first decide whether you prefer a finer grain cereal like Grape Nuts or a coarser cereal like traditional granola. The Grape Nuts effect is created by minute oats, which cook in one minute. A traditional granola texture is created with old-fashioned, rolled oats, which cook in five minutes. If you're on the fence and can't decide, mix them half-and-half in your recipe, and adjust according to your tastes the next time.

Next, you should choose a sweetener. There are several options for this. Most people prefer dark brown sugar because of the flavor it adds. But you can also use: plain white sugar; raw, unrefined sugar; granulated fructose; guava nectar; honey in any form; maple syrup; or a can of frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed. Liquid sweeteners will require that you reduce the water in the recipe, as I've indicated below. I'm not sure how sweeteners other than the ones I've listed here will change the recipe.

Finally, you can think about flavorings. I have successfully used cinnamon, nutmeg, maple flavoring, almond flavoring, and vanilla flavoring. You can experiment a bit with this. Alternate flavorings shouldn't affect the texture of the cooked oats. But I recommend vanilla on your first batch, because everyone likes it.

Prized Granola Recipe

Ingredients for the Vanilla Version:

1 to 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar*
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
8 cups oats

1/2 to 1 cup nuts may be added, if desired

*alternate sweeteners: for maple syrup, guava nectar, and honey, use 3/4 cup sweetener and 1/4 cup water. For frozen apple juice, use 1 cup thawed juice and no additional water. For white sugar, use 1 cup. For Fructose, use 3/4 cup.


1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Line two medium-size baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them lightly with cooking oil and wipe any excess off with paper towels. I also like to use a large broiler pan bottom for cooking the granola.

3. Combine the brown sugar and water in a large ( at least four cup), glass measuring cup or bowl. Don't use a smaller container -- it could boil over.

4. Microwave the mixture until it is mostly dissolved and bubbly (1-3 minutes depending on the microwave). The mixture will be VERY hot. Young children should not try to handle it.

5. Stir in the salt and vanilla. Stir until the mixture is smooth, not lumpy or grainy.

6. Let the syrup mixture cool for a minute or two.

7. While the syrup is cooling, measure the oats into a large mixing bowl.

8. Pour the warm/hot syrup over the oats and blend with a stiff spoon. Wooden spoons with long handles work best. Use the fewest strokes to get the oats evenly moistened without turning them mushy.

9. Spread the oat mixture into the pan and bake.

For chewy granola, bake for 20-25 minutes. For crunchy, crisp granola bake for 45 minutes. For a darkly toasted, super-crunchy texture, bake for 60 minutes. Let the granola cool before lifting it out of the pan. I usually bake mine in the evening and let it cool overnight. Once the granola is room temperature, use a spatula to lift it out of the pan and gently deposit it into a tin, jar, or zip lock bag.

The amount of sugar you use will make a difference in how well your granola sticks together. If you want firmer clumps, increase the amount of sweetener. If you want more flavor, increase the salt by 1/4 teaspoon, the sweetener by 1/2 cup, and your flavoring by 50%.

Serving Suggestions:

Add dried fruit after baking.

Add coconut.

Put fresh fruit on top.

Put canned peaches on top.

Use alternatives to milk to moisten it: soy milk, rice milk, chocolate soy milk, yogurt, fruit juices.

Sprinkle granola on fruits and microwave 1-2 minutes for a tasty, healthy dessert.

I often double the recipe and bake it on two large pans. Halfway through the baking, I switch them on the racks, so that each pan cooks evenly.


This granola recipe is one of my favorite breakfasts.

What did you have for breakfast today?


  1. thanks..I love granola..I am going to try this, this weekend..:) ejdollyhigh...found u through THL.

  2. I can't wait to try this! Thank you ;)

  3. Thank you for your prize granola recipe, I will have to try it one of these days. I usually eat my oats in an oatmeal with berries, raisins, and nuts. Your way looks delicious as well.

  4. Karen,

    I can store it in the pantry in an airtight container for at least a week. I can store it in the fridge for at least 2 weeks. My granola never lasts for very long, so I don't have any experience in storing it for longer than that. I would think it would store for at least a month in the fridge -- kind of like cookies.

  5. Thanks for getting me motivated to make our own today! My two youngest kids helped make it and they are eating and enjoying it right now!

    We added just a bit of honey after realizing that it wasn't enough syrup to cover all the oats, sliced almonds, and Grape-Nuts. We also sprinkled in Allspice & tad of Cinnamon to make more breakfast or dessert like.

    Your recipe is simple yet fabulous and we thank you kindly for sharing it with us! God Bless you and yours.


I love to receive comments from my readers, since you are the ones I am writing for! Please feel free to leave one.