We’ve been getting away from buying processed foods for the past few years now, but with four kids, we’ve had a bit of a hard time getting rid of cereals. We’ve been lucky, because in general, our kids aren’t fans of the super-sugary, artificially-colored cereals (though our son did go through a phase during which he was a huge fan of Trix cereal, which we’d bought in a moment of weakness after much pestering from our daughters.) We started steering them away from Cheerios, replacing it first with old-fashioned oatmeal sweetened with honey and dried fruit. Then we moved them on to steel-cut oats, which they like even more than old-fashioned oats.
But every once in a while, you just want a bowl of cold, crunchy cereal in milk. That’s where this recipe comes in. Aside from eating it as cold cereal, you can sprinkle this granola over yogurt or (oh, yes) ice cream. It’s also perfectly delicious to eat by the handful when you’re craving something a bit sweet.
Here’s what you need:
2 T. unsalted butter
2 T. honey
1 c. old-fashioned oats (steel cut oats are just a bit too crunchy for this!)
Up to 1/2 cup of nuts and/or seeds, whatever you like
Dried fruit, up to 1/4 cup, optional (we usually don’t add it, but raisins or dried cranberries are tasty)
You don’t even need to warm up the oven for this. Melt your butter in a pan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add in your honey and mix it with the butter. Next, add your nuts and seeds, stirring them into the butter/honey mixture to coat. Let the nuts cook for about two minutes to toast them. Then, add your oats, mixing well to get them coated with the honey/butter mixture. Let this cook for five to seven minutes or so, stirring occasionally. What you’re looking for is a toasty, golden-brown color. If you’re adding dried fruit, add it at the very end of your cooking time, mixing it into the oat/nuts mixture well.
Once your granola is golden brown, spread it out on either a cookie sheet or a large plate. Let it cool completely. It will become crispier as it cools.
Once it’s completely cool (really — you don’t want to store warm granola — the condensation will just make your formerly crispy granola kind of chewy and weird) you can store the granola in plastic zipper bags. We store ours in canning jars. I’m addicted to canning jars. They’re pretty.
And, there you have it! When we haven’t had nuts or seeds in the house, I’ve made this granola just by toasting 1 1/2 cups of the old-fashioned oats in the honey/butter mixture and it was awesome. So don’t let that stop you! If you have oats, you can have granola! I can also see spicing this up to your tastes by adding cinnamon or brown sugar, maybe a little dash of vanilla. Swap the honey for maple syrup, add some wheat germ — have fun playing with this recipe!
Sweet, crunchy, and good for you. No added colors, flavors, or preservatives. Now THIS is cereal.