I have been wanting to make granola for months now but didn’t get around to it. Finally, this past weekend, I went to work. I didn’t get as many batches made as I had planned but that’s fine because we have enough granola to last us a long time.
Before I talk about the granola, I have to tell you about the cane syrup. The first recipe called for cane syrup and many others called for honey. We are out of honey so I was excited to try my hand at making cane syrup. I found this recipe. It made enough to replace the honey in all the recipes I needed honey for and gave me about a pint after. It’s a little thicker than I expected and has a weird (but good) flavor. I’m thinking it will be our replacement for all syrupy ingredients from now on. It does take some time to make (mostly it has to sit for an hour) so you have to plan ahead but it’s still faster than trying to track down organic corn syrup in our area.
Starting on the right and going counter clockwise.
- Cocoa Hazelnut Granola – This is a nice simple granola. Not exceptional on the flavor, kind of boring, but easy to make. I thought the chocolate would be more pronounced but it’s more like a hint of chocolate. I love the little bits of hazelnut.
- Nutmeg Crunch – This granola packs a punch of flavor. I love the flavor but it definitely needs to be paired with something that is on the bland side. However, the recipe was designed to go with yogurt so I can see where it fits perfectly in a bowl of plain yogurt.
- Orangette Granola – I wish this granola had a name. I call it Orangette after the blog where I found it. This is by far my favorite. To be honest, I thought it was a boring recipe. It’s really simple and I like foods with some pizzazz. There are no seasonings or fruit to make this exciting. And it doesn’t need it. It has the perfect blend of sweet and salty that I crave in my snacks. This is the granola recipe to make granola my favorite snack.
- Peanut Butter Banana Granola – I had really high hopes for this granola. Now it’s very likely that I don’t like this because my peanuts and sunflower seeds were just on the verge of not being good. This just shows that your ingredients make a huge difference. My son, however, is devouring this so it’s one we’ll be trying again.
- Banana Bread Granola – Digging around my freezer for bananas made me realize something – we were out of bananas. We haven’t been out of bananas in years so it was a very sad discovery. Because I didn’t have enough for my batch of granola #4, I dug into the pantry. I had 3 small jars of banana butter (in the effort of full disclosure, it is not recommended by the canning police to can banana butter but I did). I used one in granola #4 but those two jars remaining got an idea stuck in my head – what about a granola that was like banana bread. I have a recipe for easy granola that uses fruit butter. Easy peasy – 1 cup banana butter (or 2 mashed bananas), 2 cups old fashioned oatmeal, 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts. Stir together and toast at 325 degrees for 35 minutes (turned on the baking sheet several times). I used a vanilla banana butter and added a little cinnamon to give it that banana bread flavor. Not too bad for an absolute experiment.
- (center) Granola Bars – This recipe got the most changes since I didn’t really have the right ingredients. I went with dried cherries and white chocolate chips. Since my bag of chips was already partially used, I just poured in the whole bag. It was a lot of chips – probably over a cup. The end result is more of a cookie like granola bar (or white chocolate covered bar). But it’s really good. It was an easy enough recipe and we’re enjoying it.
I hope this encourages you to have your own granola experiments. This summer my son re-discovered granola and why buy it when it is so easy to make. These recipes came together quickly and only required a little bit of attention as they baked. They’re easy enough to do with your kids. Encourage them to make up flavors and see what they like best.