The basic technique for making granola is always the same; it's what you put in it that makes it special. Think of this recipe as a guideline for a basic granola and then customize it in any way you like; there are lots of ideas in these pages.
Rolled oats are the most common grain, but you can use lots of other rolled and flaked grains, like wheat, rye, quinoa, millet, kamut, or brown rice flakes. Increase or decrease the other ingredients as you like and toss in other ingredients like nut butters, vanilla, or citrus zest. See the variations for some ideas. From How to Cook Everything (Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition)
Makes: About 8 cups
Time: 30 minutes
6 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant)
2 cups mixed nuts and seeds: a combination of sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, sesame seeds, etc.
1 cup shredded coconut (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
1 /2 to 1 cup honey or maple syrup, or to taste
1 cup raisins or chopped dried fruit
1. Heat the oven to 350°F. In a bowl, combine the oats, nuts and seeds, the coconut if you're using it, cinnamon, salt, and sweetener. Spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or a little longer, stirring occasionally. The mixture should brown evenly; the browner it gets without burning, the crunchier the granola will be.
2. Remove the pan from the oven and add the raisins. Cool on a rack, stirring once in a while until the granola reaches room temperature. Transfer to a sealed container and store in the refrigerator; it will keep indefinitely.
Peanut Butter Granola. Any nut butter or tahini will work nicely here; toss in some chocolate chips if you like very sweet granola: Add 1/2cup peanut butter and mix with the 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup until blended. Proceed with the recipe; stir the granola every few minutes while it's baking to prevent the peanut butter from burning.
Spiced Granola. Add another teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon each ground anise and cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon each freshly grated nutmeg and ground cloves, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
Ginger-Molasses Granola. Crumbled gingersnaps are a great addition to this: Substitute molasses for half of the sweetener and add a 1- to 2-inch piece fresh ginger, grated into the sweetener. Add 1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger along with the raisins.
Mark Bittman's award-winning How to Cook Everything has helped countless home cooks discover the rewards of simple cooking. Now the ultimate cookbook has been revised and expanded (almost half the material is new), making it absolutely indispensable for anyone who cooks-or wants to. With Bittman's straightforward instructions and advice, you'll make crowd-pleasing food using fresh, natural ingredients; simple techniques; and basic equipment. Even better, you'll discover how to relax and enjoy yourself in the kitchen as you prepare delicious meals for every occasion.