Oh, sure, you can buy granola in the store. You can even buy fairly healthy versions in health-food stores. But even those fairly healthy versions tend to be loaded with sugar and may contain some rather disturbing ingredients. Also odd ingredients, such as dried apple slices. Dried apple slices! In granola! Why, if I were King of the World, I'd . . . No, never mind. That belongs on a different Web page
Anyway, this granola is not only awe-inspiringly good for you, it also contains only what you put into it. I think the version I describe below will make you frighteningly healthy and fill you with a sense of smug superiority, but if you want to add even healthier ingredients, or leave out something you personally don't like, well, that's the advantage of making your own. If you do come up with an improvement, please let me know so that I can plagiarize your idea. Or if you have a relevant Web page or site, let me know, and we'll exchange links.
- Flakes, 8 cups
I use 1 cup each of rye, wheat, triticale, barley, spelt, and rice flakes and 2 cups of oat flakes. But that's just what was available at my local health-food-nut store the last time I went shopping for flakes. You should experiment.
Note: You may find the rice flakes a bit too crunchy. I once tried using soy flakes because that seemed to be the thing a health-food nut leftwinger ought to include in everything he cooked, but that turned out to be a very bad idea. They're far too crunchy. Of course, you could try doing something to them ahead of time to soften them up; that doesn't sound like much fun at all.
- Wheat germ, preferably raw, 1 ½ cups
- Nuts, 1 ½ cups
Again, the mixture depends on what's available and what you prefer. I use raw walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, hazel nuts (a.k.a. filberts), brazil nuts, pecans, and occasionally pine nuts.
- Sunflower seeds, 1 ½ cups
- Sesame seeds, unhulled, ½ cup
- Flax seeds, untreated (unspoiled, unsullied) ½ cup
- Bran, raw, 2 cups
I use 1 cup of wheat bran and 1 cup of oat bran.
- Slickum, ½ cup
By which I mean oil - canola, sesame, peanut. You know, something healthy, or at least healthyish.
- Stickum, ½ cup
By which I mean a sticky sweetener. I use mostly honey (raw! unfiltered! natural!) and a bit of molasses.
Years ago, I also used to add some Tate & Lyle's Golden Syrup, an extraordinarily delicious and addictive English food product. I think it's a byproduct of sugar production. I decided it was dangerous for my health to keep the stuff around the house, so I cut it from the recipe. In case you're interested in trying it, be aware that it's now sold as Lyle's Golden Syrup. (What happened to poor old Tate?) You can buy it on the Web and probably in specialty stores. My mother, who grew up in Lithuania, said they had it there, too, but not understanding English spelling and being able to speak German, they pronounced it "Tateh und Lilleh", which I'm sure is of no interest at all to you, so let's continue.
- Vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons
Get the real stuff, not the fake kind. And look for a brand without sugar added. Yes, it costs more, but you use very small amounts of it at a time.
- Grind the nuts in your favorite dangerous kitchen appliance. Or chop them by hand, if you're a masochist. Tiny pieces are good.
- Mix all the dry ingredients, including the the nuts, in a humongous bowl. Mix and mix and mix. And then mix some more.
- Heat the slickum, the stickum, and the vanilla extract in a saucepan.
Actually, that's the old fashioned way. It works better if you do it in the microwave oven in a microwave-safe measuring cup.
- Add the heated, goopy mixture to the dry mixture and mix it all up again. Use a spoon, not your hands; you'd be amazed how hot oil and honey can get.
This is why you heated the stuff in the preceding step. Imagine how much more strenuous this step would be if the honey were cold.
- Spread the thoroughly mixed mixture evenly in two 9" X 13" X 2" cake pans.
- Bake at 325° for 15-20 minutes, stirring at least once. Watch for burning on the edges.
- Remove and let cool thoroughly before storing.
It doesn't resemble granola when you take it from the oven, but it gets that way as it cools.
If you prefer granola that has a high degree of clumpiness, like the store-bought kind, you'll probably want to use more slickum and stickum. Try a third of a cup of each, instead of half a cup. Years ago, during a period of excessive health-food nuttiness, I tried making this granola without any slickum or stickum at all. The result was a bunch of heated-up flakes, nuts, and seeds. It probably was healthy, but it wasn't appetizing, and it certainly wasn't granola.
How much does this make? Lots. Oodles. Vast quantities. I suppose you really want to know. Let's see. We should be able to calculate it quite precisely from the list of ingredients. Add up all the cups. Ignore the vanilla extract. Multiply number of cups by 8 to convert to ounces. Add, um, 17.2% for the air spaces around the granola clumps. Subtract 1% for the cook's nibbling on the nuts. Finally, multiply by the conversion factor for converting ounces to chunks. And the result is . . . Wow! That's a lotta chunks! I told you so.
This granola will not only make you healthier. It will also cause you to dress casually, worry about the environment, oppose immoral wars, and vote for liberal/leftwing candidates. That's why you should eat lots of it.