Recipe: Homemade Granola

Have you ever made homemade granola? It's so easy and delicious and definitely one of my favorite homemade staples because it can work as a breakfast food, an ice cream topping, an on-the-go snack, a yogurt topping, or even the crunchy, crumbly crust for a fresh fruit cobbler. And it makes anything you buy off the shelf taste like cardboard. One batch makes a lot (about 2 cereal boxes worth) and can be stored in an air-tight container for several weeks. Use this recipe as a basis and add your own favorite twists with dried fruits, nuts, or other add-ins to create your own special mix. Homemade Granola 1 1/2 cups brown sugar 1/2 cup water 4 teaspoons vanilla 1 teaspoon salt 6 cups rolled oats 1 cup chopped pecans or slivered almonds 1 cup bran flakes ½ cup shredded sweetened coconut 1/4 cup wheat germ 1/4 cup cornmeal 1 tsp cinnamon ½ tsp nutmeg ½ cup dried cranberries 3 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup flour Directions Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and reserve. Combine brown sugar and water in a 4-cup microwave-proof glass measuring cup or bowl. Place in microwave on high for 5 minutes and cook until sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside the flour, butter, and dried cranberries. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients. Remove brown syrup mixture from microwave, add vanilla extract and salt. Pour liquid mixture into dry mixture and stir until thoroughly mixed. Add flour and butter, mixing with your hands to form small clusters. Spread the granola onto cookie sheets and bake 25 minutes, then stir and switch oven position between the two cookies sheets. Cook an additional 20 to 35 minutes or until golden and crunchy. When the mixture comes out of the oven, it is still very pliable. Add in dried cranberries as a finishing touch at this time. When granola has cooled completely, store in an airtight container.
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