Two oft-confused slang terms are hippie and granola. While I giggle and agree with a lot of Urban Dictionary definitions, I think the most importance difference is simple: hippies are dirty, granola is delicious.
Granola is also so simple to make at home. It’s a good pantry-buster and a great snack. A few articles I’ve read claim that it’s not actually cheaper to make it at home, but they were putting in all kinds of crazy exotic dried fruit. This is just a basic granola recipe that can easily be altered according to your cupboard contents.
After several batches, I have figured out my idea mixture of ingredients. This particular batch was a little drier than I like, so I have altered the recipe to reflect what it should be, which is a little stickier than the photos show. Also, in a perfect world, this would be made with maple syrup, but lacking a first-born child to trade for a jug of the stuff, I made do. I’ll give you a few alternatives along the way!
First things first:
Three cups of old-fashioned rolled oats, one cup of shredded coconut. That’s a good start to a batch.
Clockwise from top left: 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ and 1/2 a teaspoon of salt, 3/4 cup chopped pecans, 2 tablespoons each sesame and flax seeds, 3/4 cup chopped almonds
This is a nice mix of flavors and textures. Ideally we would add about 1/3 cup chopped peanuts, but I was all out this time.
This is one of the subtle changes I made after a few trials that made a huge impact! Add 2 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark) and a teaspoon of cinnamon.
Get a huge bowl (more depth is better than more width) and add all the dry ingredients and stir them up.
Now grab a small bowl for some chemistry magic!
We need oil (I used vegetable oil, but olive oil works too) and sweeteners (other than maple syrup, I found that I like to use honey and molasses, but agave nectar or brown rice syrup should work). This batch had 1/3 cup oil and 1/4 cup each honey and molasses, but it should have had 1/3 cup of each sweetener. Lesson learned!
The magic ingredients here are 3 tablespoons of peanut butter and a teaspoon of vanilla. Crunchy, creamy, whatever. Trust me, it adds a lovely depth of flavor that will make your granola extra tasty.
I wish I had taken a photo halfway between these. Use a whisk to break up the peanut butter and give it all a stir. It will look almost curdled. Keep whisking until your mixture magically emulsifies into a thick goo (that’s the technical term).
Pour that over your dry ingredients and use a large spoon or spatula to fold the wet and dry ingredients together until the dry ingredients are coated evenly.
You’ll want a pan with a lip. I use a 12×17 inch sheet pan which works great. You want to spread the granola out as much as you can, so split it into two batches if necessary. Pour the granola into the pan and spread it evenly, particularly into the corners.
Anything mountains or valleys will cook faster, and all the ingredients involved go from toasted to charred very quickly. The more evenly it’s spread in the pan, the more evenly it will cook.
Bake at 300F for 25-35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until golden, fragrant, and toasted. Watch carefully the last few minutes to prevent burning.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Break into pieces and let cool completely. If desired, stir in pieces of dried fruit. Store in an airtight container for up to a month.
Happy Hippie Granola
Makes about 6 cups
Other delicious additions include sunflower seeds, millet, peanuts, walnuts, oat bran, raisins, dates, etc. Be creative!
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
2 tablespoons flax seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup molasses
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.) Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir well. Combine wet ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until emulsified. Pour emulsion over the dry ingredients and fold together until evenly coated.
2.) Spread the granola on a large sheet pan with a lip and even out the top. Bake at 300F for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes and paying careful attention in the last 5 minutes of baking. Let cool in pan five minutes, then use a spoon or spatula to break into desired-size pieces. Stir in dried fruit if desired. Let cool completely before serving.