Granola has been around in one form or another since the middle of the 19th century. It wasn't until the 1960s that it became revitalized by the hippie movement with the addition of fruits and nuts to the dry cereal. In the 1970s the food industry saw its financial benefits and began marketing the product under various brands and with lots of added sugar and fats. You can read the granola history here if you are interested.
I was first introduced to Granola on a long road trip from Oshawa, Ontario to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1972. I was a poorer than poor student who needed to get back home and find a job. A friend, Kathy Wood and her parents were making the trip from Oshawa to Halifax and kindly and generously took me along so I could get a flight from Halifax to St. John's. I don't think I had more than a couple of dollars left after I bought my ticket and I will always remain grateful to those wonderful people who got me home.
As the trip progressed, and we girls were getting a bit nibbly, Mrs. Wood handed Kathy and I a Tupperware container filled with this chunky, crunchy, nutty stuff I had never tasted before. I had my first taste of wonderful homemade granola with generous mouthfuls of whole cashews, pecans, Brazil nuts and walnuts mixed in with the crunchy sweet clumps of oats. I was hooked. If I remember, we cleaned out the container and were full and satisfied for hours.
Here we are straight from the Yearbook just a few months before the trip took place.
Lois on the left, Kathy on the right.
I longed to recreate that granola and never quite found the right combination until I found this recipe. I don't know where or when I found this recipe as it was years ago but it's the closest I've come to the real thing. But nothing really tastes as good as that granola did 42 years ago! The texture of the granola comes together nicely with addition of the whole wheat flour which mixed with the oats makes the cereal nice and crunchy. There were no nuts or fruit in the original recipe as it was very basic but I always add a generous amount of nuts (whatever kind I have on hand) during the last half to quarter hour of baking. I never add dried fruits to the mixture until I'm ready to eat it because when baked with the cereal the raisins and dates can become as hard as bullets.
Combine in bowl:
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups rolled oats
⅓ cup wheat germ
¼ cup ground flax seed
½ cup unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon salt
In a small saucepan mix and heat over low heat until everything is melted together:
⅓ cup oil
6 tablespoons honey
¼ cup water
Combine the wet ingredients with the dry and mix well until crumbly. Spread on 2 cookie pans and bake at 275 degrees for 1 ½ hours stirring every 15 minutes. If your granola seems to be browning too quickly turn heat down to 225 degrees.
Add 1 ½ cups roughly chopped mixed pecans and sliced almonds or other nuts the last 30-15 minutes of baking. You may add more nuts and any variety you like.
If the granola is not completely dry, turn off oven and leave the pans in overnight or until oven is cold.
Makes approximately 7 cups granola with nuts added.
Store in airtight container. If not eating within a few weeks, granola may be stored in the refrigerator to keep the nuts fresh.
Serve with raisins, dates, milk or yogurt, etc.
Combine the dry ingredients together.
Combine the wet ingredients and mix together over low heat until melted.
If you'd like a sweeter granola, add an extra 2 tablespoons of honey.
Pour wet mixture over the well mixed dry ingredients and combine until large crumbles are formed.
Place on 2 cookie pans and bake turning and mixing the granola at 15 minute intervals. Add the chopped nuts the last 30-15 minutes of baking. This prevents the nuts from burning during the longer baking period.
Let baked granola cool several hours or overnight and store in airtight container.
When ready to serve add any dried fruits you desire.
I have used raisins and chopped dates.
Then add any toppings such as yogurt and apple sauce.
Milk and bananas are really good also.