I have had a couple of requests for a granola recipe. I have used this one for ages. The original idea for it came from a cookbook by Kathleen Daelemans called Cooking Thin with Chef Kathleen, but I have made a few of my own modifications.
10 cups oats or 8 cups oats and 2 cups puffed cereals (such as rice or corn)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to about 325.
Place 10 cups of cereal (oats or a mixture of oats and puffed cereal) in a very large bowl. Add the cinnamon and stir to combine well.
Put the brown sugar and water in a bowl and cook in the microwave for 5 minutes, or until it gains a syrupy texture. You will want a bowl that holds several cups of liquid since the mixture will bubble up while cooking.
As soon as the syrup is finished cooking, add the vanilla and salt and stir until the salt dissolves. When as much salt as possible has dissolved, pour the syrup over the oat mixture. Do not scrape out the syrup bowl--it is likely that a little salt will cling to the edges and it won't taste so great in your granola!
Stir the syrup into the oats mixture. When it is well combined, spread it onto 2 large, greased baking sheets (or baking sheets that are lined with a Silpat or parchment paper) and pop them in the oven. Bake for a total of 40 to 50 minutes, until you can just barely see the oats beginning to brown. Allow the granola to cool and then store it in airtight containers. I imagine you could probably store it for a couple of weeks at room temperature, although with 4 kids, this granola has never lasted much more than a day at my house.
If you like to have dried fruit in your granola, I suggest adding it after baking (otherwise the fruit will scorch). There are lots of great possible variations. A couple that my family likes include:
Add 1 tsp. powdered ginger with the oats and mix with 1+ cup dried cranberries after baking.
Add a mixture of raisins and dates after baking.
Other things you could try would be to add coconut or sunflower seeds to the oat mixture--remember keep your total at 10 cups--and/or try other spices and dried fruits.