A few participants on our 40/40/40 challenge chose using bulk ingredients to make cereal. Quite a few other participants decided to cut down, or cut out entirely, processed food. Homemade granola is an easy way to cut out some of those processed foods – you know, the boxes of Tony the Tiger lurking around, or the box of Ego’s hiding in the freezer. And many of the ingredients for granola are available for bulk purchase, cutting down both the cost of the cereal and the packaging waste.
For as much as I like to sit down to a fancy shmancy gourmet meal, I do prefer a simple cereal. Nothing overly spiced, not too many ingredients, and balanced on the sweetness. My favorite recipe thus far is from the Joy of Baking website. Even with this recipe, I generally don’t add all the seeds listed, and I always use sliced almonds rather than the whole almonds.
For the wet ingredients, I follow the recipe exactly. Well, almost. I usually try to eyeball honey when I’m using it in a recipe. I hate to waste the honey in a measuring cup. One of the great things about making your own food is being able to control the ingredients. Honey is widely available now at farmers markets and farm stands, in different grades and from bees on different flower diets. Each batch has it’s own subtle, but distinct taste. This producer is a favorite of mine from Wisconsin.
After the wet ingredients have come to a boil, mix with your assemble dry ingredients. As I said, I keep the dry ingredients simple: oats, sliced almonds, and some sesame seeds.
After the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, spread the entire batch on a baking sheet. The recipe says to either butter the sheet or line with parchment – I always line with parchment. That way, I can lift the granola in the parchment after it’s cooled and easily funnel into a container.
I bake mine closer to the 40 minutes, stirring often. I like the granola to be crunchy, and the longer it bakes, the crunchier it will be after it cools. Do be careful to watch it in those last few minutes, though. The almonds, especially, will start to char.
Oh, and have I mentioned the scent of granola baking in oven? Heavenly.
The next day, I happily have a simple bowl of simple granola with whole milk for breakfast:
I’m curious as to other recipes out there for bulk cereal. Anyone have one to share?