While visiting my sister this summer, I had some of her homemade granola. I have had it before, but I was really struck this time at just how GOOD it is. It is exactly the right texture: not too soft, but not so crunchy that it's work to chew. Its flavor is deliciously simple. The kind of taste you don't tire of. And it is kind of addictive. It called to me as I walked past it in the kitchen, "Just a bite. I have fiber to soak up the calories. And I feel good to eat." So I ate it.
What I didn't know about her granola initially is that it is EASY to make! Possibly the easiest granola I've ever made. She has the whole process down to an art, which I will share with you here. She explained to me as she taught me to make it, that she has tweaked the recipe over several years into the perfect one it is today.
Pre-heat oven to 300°. In an extra-large mixing bowl (or a large stock pot if you don't have a huge bowl), mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix with a whisk until completely incorporated.
Spread on two large baking sheets/ jelly-roll pans. Don't pat it down. Spread it to the ends, then make some "holes" in it to allow it to "breathe" as it cooks. This helps it cook more evenly and keeps it from sweating. See what I mean by my sister perfecting her method?
Bake for 25 minutes. Stir it, moving granola on the outside of the pan to the inside, and inside to outside. Make more breathing holes. Return it to the oven to bake 25 more minutes.
Turn the oven off. Remove the pans from the oven and stir the granola again. Now let it cool uncovered on your counter for 1-2 hours. Stirring it again while it's cooling is a good idea in moist climates. Putting it away too soon can make it too soft. Once it cools completely, store it in an air-tight container for 2-3 weeks.
I love it with Greek Yogurt, milk, or just by the handful!
My Sister's Perfect Granola
Makes fifty(50) 1/2 cup servings; Fills 1.75 large oatmeal canisters
1 large canister rolled oats
1 16oz container unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
2 cups raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
1.5 teaspoons salt
2.5 cups brown sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup canola oil
1.75 cups water
1. Preheat oven to 300°.
2. In a very large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, peanuts, sunflower seeds, salt, and brown sugar.
3. Using a whisk, stir in the vanilla, oil, and water. Stir until completely incorporated.
4. Spread on 2 large ungreased baking sheets (with sides). Don't pat the mix down, and make openings in the mixture (showing the pan through) to allow air in as the granola bakes.
5. Place in oven (layering on two racks is fine). Bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven, stir well, then return to the oven (trade places if pans were on two racks). Bake an additional 25 minutes.
6. Remove from oven, and turn oven off. Stir again, and allow to cool and dry on counter for 1-2 hours. Stirring during cooling is good, especially in moist climates.
7. Store in airtight containers for 2-3 weeks. (Ours never lasts that long, so this is an estimate :)). Fills 1.75 large oatmeal canisters.
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