Sunday, November 10, 2013

Better Than A Christmas Candle - Homemade Crunchy Granola

Recently I was a guest at my best friend's house for a week. And as often happens between friends, she shared something wonderful she made and I had to have the recipe.
She shared the one she used with me, and added her own adjustments, based on taste, and what she had on hand. I saw no need to alter the amazingness, so I always make the same adjustments as she did, and it comes out perfect every time.

What is the recipe you ask?

Homemade, crunchy-perfect granola.
I had tried another granola recipe that I loved, but it burned when I tried making it crispier, and then it didn't stay crisp after a few days.
That is all well and good for someone who wants chewy granola, but not me.
Crunch crunch.

We used the original recipe from here and then after the alterations it looks a little something like this:

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
3 cups old fashioned oats (the bigger, 3-minute kind)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 275 and prepare a 10x15 baking pan lined with parchment paper.
2. Combine brown sugar and water in microwave safe dish. Microwave for about 1 min until sugar dissolves.
3. Add vanilla to sugar mixture and set aside.
4. Combine oats and cinnamon.
5. Pour liquids mixture over oats and stir well. Spread oats out on pan
6. Bake 20 min, and then stir lightly. (I more just shift them around. Leaving a few clumps makes for less crumbly granola)
7. Bake another 25-28 min, being careful not to burn. Let cool completely before putting in an airtight container to store. (Cooling it first helps keep it crisp.)

That's it! Your kitchen will smell ahh-ma-zing! It smells better than a Christmas candle to me.
Here's my comments, though on important things not to change:

First - old fashioned oats. When I bought this kind by mistake, I was frustrated every.single.time. I tried to make them in the microwave. Not only do they take 3 minutes instead of one minute. (I know. We're learning patience around here) but they overflowed! Every time I had a big fat mess in my microwave. When I was at my friend's house though, I noticed that's the kind she used, so that's the kind I bought, and then I had an epiphany.
They take longer to cook.
That means they absorb moisture slower, right?
That means crunchier granola.
That means yay!

Use real vanilla. This has gotten to be a must in my family. A no-compromise must. The taste alone is worth it. We have the vanilla from Mexico. You can find it at some world markets or on Amazon here:

 Once you start working this into your regular cooking and baking, you'll see why the difference. I have people ask me all the time "What did you use? This tastes amazing!" And I believe it's the vanilla. Yummy! It makes the most amazing homemade hot chocolate, too - I like the white vanilla for hot chocolate and the dark vanilla for my granola. Try both and let me know what you like best!

Those are the main unchangeables for this recipe.
The entire recipe fits beautifully in a 1-qt size mason jar. I use a mason jar and have it on the shelf with my other cereals. My friend stores it in a large Ziploc bag and keeps it in the fridge. Either way works fine.

We like to eat it with milk, or stirred into yogurt. How do you like to eat your granola?
 pin it!


  1. Thanks for the recipe! Excited to try it!!

    1. My pleasure, Janel! Let me know what you think :) Enjoy

  2. What is the calorie count on a serving of this?

    1. Good question Haley! I've never stopped to figure it for this recipe.

      The best way I figure out calories is to look at the labels on each of the ingredients, figure out the total calorie content for the entire recipe, and then divide by servings. For instance, if you get 4 cups of granola per recipe, and each serving is a cup, you'd divide the entire calorie content by four. Hope that helps