- 2½ cups (222 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
- ¼ to ½ cup chopped nuts
- ¼ cup sesame/poppy seeds
- 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 310ºF.
In the largest bowl you have, mix the dry ingredients together. In a smaller container, mix the wet ingredients together.
Combine the dry and wet ingredients, mixing them thoroughly. Clean hands work well for this.
Spread the raw granola loosely on a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Stir, then pack down firmly with a spatula or a wooden spoon. This will leave you with big clumps of the finished granola.
Bake for another 15 minutes, during which time your kitchen will smell very, very good. If you’ve managed to get yourself in trouble with a wife or boyfriend, this will boost you 50 percent of the way out of the hole you’re in.
Remove from the oven and let cool for at least half an hour.
Eat it with — Oh, come on! It’s granola. You know what to do with it.
This is a solid delicious granola with a hint of saltiness and a tiny kick of spiciness. The great thing about this particular recipe — or any granola recipe, when you come down to it — is how adaptable it is:
Oats – This is probably the only ingredient you can’t mess with too much, but if you happen to run across some rolled barley or something, I’m pretty sure that would work too. Granola is very forgiving.
Nuts – You’re pretty wide open to improvisation here. I generally use roasted, salted nuts; my favorites are pistachios or pecans, but I’ll bet peanuts would be delicious. I’m very much not a walnut guy, but if you like them, they’d probably be delicious. My wife has asked me to use shredded coconut next time I make this.
Seeds – Again, it’s probably hard to go wrong with any seeds. I tend to fall back on a 50/50 mix of sesame and poppy seeds, but I’ve had good luck with hemp seeds. Sunflower kernels or pepitas (Mexican pumpkin seeds) would probably be excellent too. If you end up using a higher volume of seeds, add a little more of the liquid ingredients.
Brown sugar – Could you replace this with maple sugar or jaggery (Indian fermented brown sugar)? I don’t see why not.
Seasonings – You have just as many options here, but you might want to take a moment to think through any spices you add to your granola. I took this particular granola to a potluck breakfast at work once and the cayenne pepper made an otherwise kind and gentle coworker almost take a swing at me. I grew up in Vermont, at a time when salt and pepper was seen as dangerously adventurous. I should have remembered that people in this part of the world feel vaguely — or apparently not so vaguely — threatened by spicy food. With that said, I misread my notes and almost added cardamom to this recipe instead of cinnamon, and I think that might actually work. Your mileage may vary.
Oil – This recipe calls for vegetable oil, because it has a fairly neutral flavor and a high smoke point, but I’ve substituted hazelnut oil before and was very pleased.
Maple syrup – Honey works well here. If you’ve made syrup for cocktails — ginger or raspberry syrup for instance — that would work well, too.
Chocolate chips, M&Ms or gummy bears – Save them for your trail mix. If you decide to try them in your granola, mix them in after it is made and cooled. They wouldn’t make it through the baking process intact.
Featured photo: Granola. Photo by John Fladd.