This summer our brother and sister in-law came to visit. Well not in-law yet, in-love might be more accurate. We don't always eat breakfast so I asked if they had something they'd like us to keep on hand. The request came back for cereal. I have a love-hate relationship with cereal. It is delicious in the way that dessert is delicious. It is also a waste of money and calories wrapped in preservatives and flashy over- packaging. I thought, "I wish I could just make my own cereal."
I considered that Corn Flakes were made by a mother who wanted a quick breakfast for her family. However, cooking and flattening corn seemed a little extreme which is when I had the ah-ha moment. Granola is basically breakfast cereal and I can make it! I made a batch of granola using a recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and it was yummy. Thus began my journey of tweaking and testing a series of granola recipes.
After trying various recipes promising crunchy, clumpy, sweet granola I wasn't quite happy so I took the best and created this. I call it Crunchy Nutty Granola. Not very original, but it does include the most important descriptors.
Then I tried different nut combinations. I decided sesame seeds and flax were out because they got stuck in my teeth. I enjoyed pecans, walnuts and sunflower seeds. Then I got a hold of unsweetened, unsulfered coconut flakes and I knew I had my combination. I spice it up with a bit of cinnamon and vanilla.
For the fat I tried olive oil, coconut oil and even apple sauce, but ultimately I couldn't do better than butter.
All these ingredients add up to delicious crunchy, rich, sweet granola that clumps just the right amount. This is a a rather large recipe. It makes eight cups which is 16 servings.
I store the finished granola in two quart jars to keep it crunchy and fresh. Then I try to make it last at least ten days before I make another round. It's kind of addictive so I keep it out of site.
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup coconut flakes
1 cup pecan pieces
1 cup walnut pieces
1 cup sunflower seeds, unsalted
1 cup molasses
1/2 cup clarified butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt the butter and mix in the molasses, cinnamon and vanilla. Pour the butter mixture into the oat mixture and stir to coat.
Divide the granola between two cookie sheets and spread it evenly. Bake at 200 degrees for one and a half hours stirring every half hour.
Once the granola has baked, spread it out on tin foil to cool. The cookie sheets will be coated in hard sugar. Soak them in water and they will clean up nicely. If after the granola cools it isn't as crunchy as you'd like, you can always put it back in the oven for another 30 minutes.
Try not to eat it all before it cools. Enjoy.