A couple of weeks ago, I read a NY Times article about some addictive, crack-like granola, and that was the point at which I decided I had to make some homemade granola of my own. The recipe involved olive oil, and a sweet and salty contrast in the ingredients apparently made it irresistible. I also saw a homemade granola recipe on The Cosmic Cowgirl’s site a few months ago. Both The Cosmic Cowgirl’s and the NY Times recipes included pepitas which sounded great to me. Then, I recalled that Ruhlman had presented a slightly unusual granola recipe back in June. Pureed bananas and strawberries were mixed into the oats and nuts, and I had to try that. I actually consume a lot of cold cereal and granola for breakfasts, and I don’t know why I had never before made my own. I’ll definitely whip up a batch with pepitas as soon as I run out of this granola. It’s incredibly easy to make, you can tailor it to suite your taste or mood, and you can control the quantity of sugar.
With Ruhlman’s recipe, less oil is used because the pureed fruit and water add moisture that helps mix the spices throughout the oats and nuts. Then, most of the ingredients are up to you. You need to use the correct amount of oats, roughly the specified amount of nuts, but nuts of your choosing, then the spices and dried fruit are entirely your choice. I, however, followed almost exactly the quantities and ingredients suggested. I went with two bananas which were blended with strawberries, brown sugar, honey, canola oil, water, cinnamon, of which I added extra, and nutmeg. That was stirred into a mixture of oats, wheat bran, flax seed, walnuts, and sliced almonds. This was baked for an hour and was stirred every 15 minutes. Once it was removed from the oven and cooled, I added dried cranberries.
With homemade granola, you're able to choose the ingredients, but would the taste of be that much different? Yes, of course, homemade is far better. It’s perfectly fresh and the flavors are much more vibrant than something that has been sitting in a bin or box for however many days or weeks. It was worth making this just for the aroma from the oven while it baked. I usually take my granola with some plain soy milk, but it’s even better with thick Greek yogurt. Try one of these recipes or invent a new one, and let me know your favorite nut, spice, and fruit combination.