One of the joys of running a B and B is the ability to try out different recipes and ask my guests to rate them. In years past I grew to love ‘Canadian Crunchy Granola’ and wanted to replicate this cereal at home for use in the B and B.
This is one recipe that I have not changed at all since I opened in 2012. It is very simple to make and is often the baking item I make while waiting for guests to show up for breakfast, with the warm vanilla smell being pushed into the guest rooms through the warm air registers. (On days when granola is not baking, the fresh coffee smell gets ‘ported’ to the rooms using the same method.)
With a box of store-bought quality granola pushing $7.00, I set out to replicate this at home for less than $1.50. And I did. (I found the core basic recipe in Better Homes and Gardens magazine, and it was called Down to Earth Granola.)
HGH Granola (below this recipe are specific tips and comments about the ingredients, tools and method.)
8 cups rolled oats
(You may use ‘regular’ oats or ‘thick.’ Thick takes a bit longer to bake and results in a chewier and denser finished product. DO NOT use ‘fast cooking’ or ‘Instant.’)
2 ‘hands’ whole almonds
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt (I use Pink Salt)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp vanilla
Tip: I start with a microwaveable 2 cup measuring cup, use it first to measure the 8 cups of oats. Then measure the honey and oil into the same cup, add the brown sugar, heat and mix this mixture in the microwave. This allows the sugar to partially dissolve and the heated mixture mixes easier into the dry.
Mix all the dry together in a big bowl. Measure the wet into a 1 or 2 cup glass measuring cup, heat a little and mix well into the dry. Spread evenly about 3/4 inch thick on the sheet pans and bake at 280 f for 45 minutes, middle rack, removing from the oven and dumping back into the big bowl every 15 minutes and remix evenly, then return to sheet pans and the oven. Cool in the big bowl after the 3-15 minute sessions in the oven, tossing and mixing every 10 minutes until quite cool. Makes 2 lbs, 5.8 oz. The last 5 minutes are critical. This is where a lot of the browning takes place! Store in a container with a tight fitting lid when completely cool.
The oats: regular old fashioned Quaker oats can be used, but the thick cut oats that are sometimes available in the bulk departments of supermarkets or natural food departments make a more refined granola.
The almonds: I always have whole raw almonds on hand for use in granola bars and various stir fried dishes and salads. ‘Two hands’ are the quantity that you can grab with your hand, twice. This always seems to be a bit too many, so you can reduce the total after baking by just grazing on them! 😉 mmmmmmm.
The sugar: Sure, you can sweeten with just the honey, but I found that the sugar adds a nice glaze to the finished product, that you cannot get from honey alone. It actually melts in the oven. (I make my own brown sugar by mixing regular white sugar with molasses.) I have tried this recipe with Agave Syrup and was disappointed.
The pans: I use two 11 x 16 x 1 in. sheet pans that exactly fit side by side in my oven on one rack.
The bowl: Choose one large enough to mix and then remix the granola. I use stainless steel as it holds up to the hot, just out of the oven, granola. When you remove the granola and dump it back into the bowl, you have to keep remixing it or the oats will stick together into clusters, that get quite hard. (Hey, maybe you actually WANT that!) Just toss and ‘winnow’ the granola over a few times. DO NOT leave the hot granola on the sheet pans, it will harden up there, also.
What about dried fruits?: Many commercial granolas have these in them. I do not add these items when I am making the granola, as I found that they get hard. I do offer raisins and dried cranberries to be added to the guests bowls, though.
’til next time,
Highland Garden House B & B
501 E. Highland Ave.
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
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