Well actually, I am a granola munching, tree-hugging hippie but that’s another thing.
I’ve loved granola since my first bite of this crunchy, honeyed, comfort food, bought from a local health-food store/bakery 30 years ago. Previous to that I’d eaten plenty of oatmeal porridge that my mother had cooked. Instant oatmeal. I know.
That watery, tasteless stuff of my childhood created a somewhat unpleasant connotation with oats. But that all changed when I began cooking and baking with oats in all kinds of recipes. Granola was just another way to enjoy this amazing seed derived from oat grass.
Oats are naturally gluten-free, but if you need to make sure they haven’t come in contact with gluten during processing, there are GF-certified oats to be found.
Oats are an excellent source of calcium, fiber, protein, and manganese among other essential nutrients, and I think everyone can agree that they are good for, you know… pooping. Just ask the character James Fraser from the series “Outlander”; he confirms in one of the episodes.
Making my own granola is one of those kitchen activities that can ground me when I’m feeling a bit too scattered; it is easy and reminiscent of baking bread in that it makes the house smell amazing—but the results are much quicker!
There are a few things you should know about making granola:
Best to line your baking sheet with parchment paper to avoid sticky messes—use the unbleached kind.
Let it cool and dry completely before storing in an airtight container.
Don’t overbake or underbake—but I err on the over-bake side.
Add fruit after baking.
If you want bigger clumps, press the granola down again once out of the oven, let it cool, then break up into chunkier chunks.
Oil and honey/maple syrup should be in equal amounts to coat the oats and dry well.
Recipe handed down from a much-missed friend:
3.5 cups rolled oats (not quick 3-minute oats)
½ cup non-GMO sunflower oil or some other mild oil
½ cup honey or maple syrup (don’t be tempted to do more than 1/2 cups of these last two, a tiny bit less would be ok, but not more than)
½ tsp salt
1/3 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup dried cranberries
Handful of love and inspiration
Tip: If you measure out the oil first, the honey/maple syrup won’t stick to the measuring cup!
1. Heat the oven to 300F and line your rimmed baking sheet.
2. In a good-sized bowl, whisk the oil, honey/maple syrup, salt, and cinnamon together.
3. Add the oats and sliced almonds and stir until oats are well coated. It will look quite wet.
4. Spread evenly onto the sheet, place on a center rack in the oven, and set your timer for 10 minutes.
5. Stir at 10 minutes—spread it evenly again, tamp down, and bake another 10 minutes or so.
6. Cool on a rack once out of the oven after adding the fruit and pressing down again.
7. When cool and dry, break into small or larger bits and store for up to a month.
Enjoy with mylk of your choice, in smoothie bowls, or as a healthy snack any time. I take mine on hikes, with a flask of tea.
*The Witch’s Kitchen is one that celebrates the gifts Earth Mother provides for our health and overall well-being. It is a way to create simple, practical magic that is of benefit to oneself and others. Some of the elements of a witch’s kitchen are gratitude, love, and other unseen elements as an ingredient, creating a simple kitchen altar, setting an intention, honoring ancestors through shared recipes, and finding meditation in the process of creating a meal. Are you a kitchen witch?