Good Granola Made Simpler

Granola is one of those things at the store that costs much more than I am willing to pay. It is usually chock full of fat and sugar, as well, and is more like a dessert than a breakfast cereal. The naturally frugal solution is to make your own at home. Oatmeal, after all, is super cheap when you buy it in bulk. My problem with most granola recipes, though, is that they also call for exotic, expensive ingredients, and require baking for a long time at a low temperature and need to be stirred every five minutes. I do spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but opening my oven every five minutes for an hour is not my idea of fun. The basic granola recipe in The Tightwad Gazette is simple and doesn't call for anything that I don't already stock in my pantry. It isn't quite interesting enough or crunchy enough to hold my attention, so I don't really love eating it. I love mixing granola with yogurt, and since I've been making a lot of yogurt lately, I decided it was time to figure out a better recipe for granola.

I started with the basic Tightwad Gazette recipe, which I had already modified because I thought it was too sweet. I added some extra ingredients that are typical pantry staples in my house, and also added some baking time to intensify the crunch. And while I don't want to babysit granola in the oven for an hour, I figured I could handle 15 minutes.

I make a really big batch because it is about the same amount of work as a single batch, and we can go through it really fast. If this is too big for you, cut the recipe in half.

Frugalmom's Granola Made Easy

Preheat oven to 375

In a large bowl, mix together:
10 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup dry powdered milk
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon

In a small saucepan, mix together over low to medium heat until dissolved:
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla extract

Pour the honey mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well. Divide between two 9x13 cake pans. Bake for 15 minutes at 375, stirring every 5 minutes. Remove from oven and stir 1 cup of raisins into each pan. Let cool completely in the pans and store in an airtight container.

While it is cooling, I will stir it every time I walk through the kitchen to keep it from clumping together too much.

I just pulled a batch out of the oven, and I can't wait for breakfast when I can mix it with some homemade yogurt. The only thing that would make it better would be to add a little bit of home-canned sour cherry pie filling, but I am hording the last jar or two of the pie filling. After cherry season I'll be a little more free with the cherries.