Basic Granola

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Granola is a bit like bread to me. Where we live, a loaf of bread costs around five dollars. A bag of granola as much as ten–and the bag isn’t usually that big. Feeling a bit ripped off at the market is often what starts me making something from scratch at home. Then I get tired of kneading and toasting and committing to that much bread and cereal eating, and I’m back at the store.

Though I didn’t add dried fruit to this granola, but you can. Most granola recipes addit before baking, but I like to add it after. Dried fruit, when cooked for 30-40 minutes without anything to shield it from the heat, tends to burn and become bitter around the edges. The fruit has already been dehydrated and is ready to sit on your shelf for a long period of time without spoiling, so I don’t see any reason to torture it in the oven.

Basic Granola (makes 3 cups, 3-1/2 with fruit)

1-1/2 cups (360ml) rolled oats (not steel-cut Irish or Scottish oats)
1-1/2 cups (360ml) raw nuts and seeds–I used sliced almonds, chopped walnuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/4 cup (60ml) maple syrup–this will give you a lightly sweet granola, if you want it sweeter, add more
1 Tbsp. (15ml) vegetable oil (not olive oil, but canola, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, corn, etc.)
2 teaspoons (10ml) ground ginger*
1/2 teaspoon (2.5ml) ground cinnamon*
A few pinches of salt
1/2 cup (120ml) dried fruit (optional)–raisins, cranberries, blueberries, chopped candied ginger or peel, etc.

* I wanted the spiciness of ginger and cinnamon in my granola, but you can add whatever sweet spices or flavorings you prefer, or none at all.

Preheat the oven to 300F/150C degrees.

In a bowl, toss the oats, nuts and seeds and spices together. Add the oil and maple syrup and toss until evenly coated.

uncooked

Spread the mixture in a thin layer across a non-stick baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper. You can use foil, but it might tear when you toss the granola.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until deep golden brown. Toss every ten minutes so it browns evenly throughout.

cooked

Let cool. Toss with any dried fruit you’re using. Store in an airtight container.