October 12, 2017

My favorite granola

The recipe makes two large pans of toasty, crunchy granola.

In the fall of 2010, I was gifted several coupons for free, and discounted make-your-own-books on Blurb.com, and I had the great idea to create cookbooks as holiday gifts for my immediate family members. I already had loads of photos, recipes and text from my blog, plus I was a graphic designer — it would be a piece of cake, so to speak. In my excitement, I 'forgot' that all the photos were sized for the Web, and would have to be re-edited for print. The text had to be edited, too, and the Blurb software was nothing like the professional layout software I was used to. I was constantly frustrated by not being able to design the book exactly as I wanted, and not to have access to my favorite fonts. But, I worked day and night — literally — until I had produced a 120 page, lavishly illustrated cookbook. Good thing I had all the coupons, as the cost of buying one of the books at actual price is substantial. I just looked on Blurb to see if my book was still there. It is, and a paperback copy sells for $46.99! (Granted, Blurb did a fabulous job on the printing, and the paper is beautiful, but, seriously? Who buys a cookbook for $46.99?) They even have an online preview where you can look at every page of my book in miniature. (If you're curious ... just click on the book and the pages turn) I see that Blurb now offers a way to design a book with Adobe InDesign. It's also possible to create the book using whatever software you prefer, make a PDF, and use the PDF to print the book. I guess the PDF feature was available when I made my book, but I was too far into it before I realized the personal  limitations of the free Blurb software, and the thought of starting over when I found out about the PDF option, was worse than just finishing what I had already started. In spite of the huge amount of work, and the frustrations, the end result was worth it. Everyone who received a copy seemed pleased, and in spite of all the difficulties, I was glad I had done it. The Blurb software, while a bit frustrating to me, would be fine for someone not as invested in professional design as I was at the time. If you start now, you should be able to finish a book in time to give as a holiday gift to a special someone. It doesn't have to be a cookbook— poetry, photography, stories — anything, really. There are many more choices of personal online printers now besides Blurb, some of them much cheaper. Blurb will give you great results, though. They now even offer lay-flat binding — for a price.

The liquid and dry ingredients are best mixed together by hand, as in, use your hands.

My husband got out the cookbook recently to find something to make for dinner, and I started looking through it. I hadn't gotten very far when I found my old favorite granola recipe which appeared on this blog in March, 2009. It's been years since I've made, or eaten, granola, and I was eager to revisit the recipe. Another blogger I know had recently posted about making granola, and although I never got around to checking out her recipe, the word "granola" was etched in my brain. Granola. It just has a delicious ring to it.

The recipe was just as good as I remembered, and I've been crunching it for breakfast all week. It's a breakfast that really satisfies, and keeps me full for hours.

A bowl of crunchy granola with soy milk.
Crunchy granola
(updated recipe)

  • 7 cups rolled oats, GF if needed*
  • 1 cup hemp hearts (GF if needed)*, OR 1 cup hulled sesame seeds, OR 1 cup raw wheat germ
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup raw walnuts, in halves or pieces
  • 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (opt.)
  • 1 cup apple juice (I add 3-4 tablespoons of frozen apple juice concentrate to a one cup measure, and add water to make 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or agave syrup, or sorghum, or 1/3 cup rice syrup)
  • 1/3 cup almond butter (or other nut or seed butter)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (opt.)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger (opt.)
  • 1 cup pitted, chopped medjool dates
  • 1 cup raisins (or 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup non-dairy dark chocolate chips (optional, but, what can I say, recommended) (I used 3/4 cup this time)
  1. Mix together the oats, hemp hearts, cashews, sunflower seeds, coconut and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Mix the apple juice, sweetener and almond butter in a small pot and warm over low heat, whisking to dissolve the almond butter. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla, cinnamon and ginger, if using.
  3. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. I used my hands for this because the spoon was too slow. Be sure to mix up the dry ingredients from the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Divide between two large baking pans and bake in a 325˚F oven for ABOUT 40-45 minutes. While it's baking, stir about every 10 minutes to toast evenly and to prevent burning. The bottom and edges will toast first, so stir them in.
  5. When it turns golden brown, turn off the heat and allow to sit in the oven about 30-40 minutes to continue drying.
  6. Remove from the oven and stir in the fruit. You will probably have to break up the dates if they are very soft. Let cool completely, then stir in the chocolate chips if you dare. (It's breakfast, after all. Be sensible!) If you do add chocolate chips, really let the granola cool well before stirring them in or the chocolate will melt. Yes, it will. I guess I didn't wait long enough because my chocolate chips melted. They still tasted great but the surprise of crunching on a chocolate chip was sacrificed for the taste of chocolate flavored granola. 
  7. Serve with your favorite plant milk. 
*Bob's Red Mill sells certified gluten-free rolled oats and hemp hearts. Although neither item contains gluten, cross contamination can be a problem with oats and hemp for those with celiac or severe allergies.


  1. This is fabulous! It's actually been a good while since I last made granola, so I'm pretty happy to have your formula. Thank you for sparing me the $46.99 entry fee. ;)

    1. No worries about the fee — all the recipes are on the blog! But as for the granola, it's excellent, if I do say so myself. All granola should have chocolate, melted or not.

    2. Well a little bit of chocolate never hurt anything, really... It's a good rule to live by!

  2. Now THAT is some Granola!!!! Yummers!

    1. I'm going to make more as soon as it's gone. Why have I not been eating this deliciousness for so long?

  3. It's fun to "re-discover" old recipes that haven't been made in awhile. Afterwards, I'm always why did I stop making this? The granola looks awesome!

    Bummer on the Blurb experience, a pdf would have been way easier and more useful. You could do other things with the pdf like turn it into an e-book. :-)

    1. Rediscovering old favorite recipes — that's one of the reasons I started the blog, so I could keep track of them — I'm going to do more of that.

      I don't mean to be negative about the Blurb book. It turned out great. I guess I wasn't thinking straight about how much time it would take to complete it. If we admitted to ourselves how long projects would take, we'd never do them! And I was so used to using particular design software at work, I wanted more control — not everyone wants that. Maybe I'll even do it again some day. Hahaha.

  4. Given how much places seem to charge for granola (at least they do over here!) I think every home should have a recipe for the homemade stuff on hand. This one looks glorious.

    1. I'd be a little afraid to add up the cost of making my granola, though I'm sure (pretty sure) it would be cheaper than buying it ready-made. At least I hope so. It makes an impressive amount, and now that we've gotten used to having it around, we're eating a much more reasonable amount instead of chomping as much as we can because it tastes so good. I believe the next batch will last longer and thus be more cost effective than the first. :D


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