My partner is in a roller derby league and thanks to that wonderful bit of exercise, has been eating us out of house and home lately. She really loves granola as a snack. Sometimes she eats it with yogurt, sometimes she eats it in bars to give her extra energy for her hours and hours of derby practice. I figured that it would be cheaper in the long run if I started making our own granola, and man is it delicious.
- 6 cups old-fashioned oats (not the quick kind)
- 4 Tablespoons melted butter (plus more for greasing the pan, or cooking spray)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 Tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup crushed cereal (I used regular Cheerios but you can use whatever you want)
- 1/2 cup wheat germ
- 1/2 cup Hemp Hearts (I got mine on Amazon, my local grocer stopped stocking it)
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a bowl, toss the old-fashioned oats with the salt, and then add in the vegetable oil and melted butter. Stir it until it’s all covered. Then, put the oiled oats onto two rimmed baking sheets. Shake the pans a bit to distribute the oats evenly. Pop them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes (shaking the pans a few times to make sure they don’t burn) at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, until they’re a nice light golden brown.
Once they’re toasted, let them cool on the pan for a few minutes and then toss them into a large bowl. Reset your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a medium saucepan, toss in the dark brown sugar, honey, maraschino cherry juice, and molasses. Cook it on medium heat, stirring a lot, until everything dissolves together and it starts to bubble a little. Remove the saucepan from heat, and add in your vanilla extract. Set it aside.
Finely chop your pecans, and then give your almonds a bit of a rough chop. I ended up getting slivered almonds, and just cut them down a bit more. Add the chopped nuts to the bowl full of golden oats. Then, add your wheat germ, Hemp Hearts, and your cereal. I used crushed Original Cheerios since that’s what I had on hand, but you can totally use Rice Crispies or whatever you want. Stir all of the dry ingredients together in your bowl.
Next comes the fun part. Slowly add the sticky goo from your saucepan and stir a lot. I typically pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients in thirds. Make sure to stir it to make the liquid as even as possible before you pour more in.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, and then butter the pan well (or use spray oil) on both the bottoms and the sides. If you forget this step, it’ll be difficult (but not impossible) to peel your granola bars off the foil.
Pour your mixture out onto the oiled sheet. Try to get an even layer. To help with that, you can spray your hand with cooking oil to smoosh it down (without getting your hands super sticky). The mix should be lightly pressed down into the pan.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit until it’s a nice, golden brown. When you pull it out of the oven, the granola might still be a bit soft, but it’ll crisp up as it cools. If you don’t want bars and you just want granola clusters, pull it apart when it’s still soft. Lift the foil out of the pan to get the granola out in one piece and put it on your cutting board.
Once the granola is completely cool, remove the foil from the back. Or leave it, it doesn’t make a huge difference. I left mine on while I cut it into bars. With a very sharp knife, cut the granola into long strips, and then into bars of whatever size you want.
This recipe make a toooooon of granola bars. Seriously. It’s a crazy amount. But we go through a lot of granola in this household.