There’s something special about sharing recipes from one person to another. Perhaps it’s the coming together that makes the whole thing so great. Acknowledgement that we need to share pieces of ourselves with each other, one of the most valuable being our time. Maybe its the activity producing something sustainable, a necessity ingrained into our very beings. Whatever it is, there is something to be said of gathering over the makings of a meal, the way it connects people on multiple levels.
I always feel joy when I learn a new recipe from someone I know. Even more so when I’ve already tasted said recipe and have decidedly fallen in love with the taste (smell, and sight) of it. Today, I had the privilege of learning my sister-in-law’s delicious home-made granola recipe. I’ve been asking her to come over and teach me how it’s done ever since she handed me a mason jar full of this home-made goodness a few months ago. We finished the jar in just a few days, strewn over yogurt, or eaten simply by the handful. Since then, I’ve been craving it, and so for the past few weeks, I’ve consistently asked for any spare moment she may have so that I might learn to make it on my own. Today was my lucky day.
She came over mid-afternoon, bearing all the ingredients we needed, with her own additional twist: Coconut flakes. The great thing about the ingredients in this recipe is that they can be purchased in bulk, allowing you to make the crunchy goodness without waste. Plus the recipe is flexible, in the sense that the maker can add whatever ingredients they want. Creativity can reign in the production of something as simple as granola. Some of her alternative suggestions included pecans or walnuts. Sometimes you can simply make do with whatever left over nuts and seeds you may have in the pantry. Either way, there’s very few ways to really mess this up. I mean, it’s granola!
The honest truth: It’s more than granola. It’s magic. It’s versatile. It’s simple. It’s healthy. It’s a great arsenal to have in the pantry. Considered a year-round ingredient in our household, it seems appropriate that we address its production early on in this virtual recipe book. The greatest part is the ease with which the process can be executed. Once in the oven, there is nothing left for you to do, except to rotate the granola every 12 minutes. Now you’ve got time on your hands to read a book, write a novel, or chat like we did, over espresso in the waning afternoon light. Additionally, each batch makes a hefty amount (more than six cups of granola!), thus allowing you to be quite liberal with how you choose to spend it.
Additional things I loved when making this:
- The smell of brown sugar caramelizing on the stove top.
- The sound of granola shifting, when raking it to get an even toasting.
- The scent of coconut toasting.
- The earthy colors of the combination of grains, seeds, and coconut flakes.
- The warmth of the baking pan as you take it out of the oven to cool.
- The “plink” of well-toasted pieces being transferred to a glass mason jar.
- The crunch of your very first bite.
- The subtle sweetness it lends to whatever meal your gracing with its presence.
- 5 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup flax seeds
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Boil brown sugar, canola oil, water, and vanilla extract for two minutes. Careful not to burn the mixture. We allowed it to heat over medium heat.
- Combine all the dry ingredients until the sunflower seeds in a bowl. We will add the coconut flakes at a later time.
- Mix all ingredients (wet and dry) together and spread on a cookie sheet.
- Bake granola for 36 minutes, stirring the granola once every 12 minutes. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and turn the oven off (very important, lest you burn the upcoming coconut flakes).
- Sprinkle 1 cup of coconut flakes on top of the granola and return the baking sheet back into the oven and bake for an additional 12 minutes (or until desired crispiness has been reached), stirring once in the middle of the 12 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, and cool before transferring to a container of your choice.