Let me start by saying that this stuff should be illegal. The amount of granola I have half-hazardly shoved into my mouth in the past week... well, I'm not even going to tell you how much. It's disgusting. But what it means is that it is delicious. And easy. And healthy-ish. Emphasis on ish.
Anyways, there are millions of ways to make granola. I used Steen's Cane Syrup, because it's my new favorite food. It belongs in everything. But if you don't have Steen's, maple syrup works just fine. I also like pecans and cranberries, but you can use any type of nut, or no nuts at all. Walt likes coconut flakes in his, and perhaps chocolate chips for good measure. It's all about compromise.
Homemade granola is a wonderful edible gift idea (hint, hint. It's Christmas, people!!). Imagine the surprise of the party hostess when she realizes she doesn't have to worry about breakfast the next day, especially if she is nursing a hangover. I don't know this hostess. I'm just saying.
Recipe update (5/1/2012): Since first testing this recipe over two years ago, I now make granola on a weekly basis. We shred through it at a shockingly fast pace. I no longer need a written guide—I just go by taste and texture. Sometimes I swap out canola for olive oil, or use a mix of both. I add whatever nuts I have in the freezer: pistachios, almonds, and cashews all work well. I also like throwing in some unsweetened shredded coconut during the last 10 minutes of cooking. And my favorite way to enjoy it is not at breakfast, but stirred through vanilla yogurt and sprinkled with chocolate chips for the ultimate late night indulgence!
Source: Nealey Dozier Yields 6 cups
4 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking) 1 cup chopped pecans 1 cup dried cranberries or cherries 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 3/4 cup cane syrup, maple syrup, or honey 1/4 cup canola oil, olive oil, or a mix of the two
Preheat oven to 3o0 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, pecans, dried berries, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk together the cane syrup and canola oil and pour over the oat mixture, mixing well. Spread the granola evenly onto a large rimmed sheet. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, stirring every 10 -15 minutes to allow for even cooking. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. (The granola may seem sticky at first but will harden as it cools, yielding a crunchy texture.) Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.