Crunchy Granola…Reveal Your Inner Hippie

Crunchy Granola…Reveal Your Inner Hippie

A really great granola tastes delicious without being too sweet,  stays clumpy and crunchy in milk and leaves you feeling healthy and nourished.  This is a really great granola.

This is a staple in my house and the ingredients are deceptively simple.

  • 1 1/3 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 9 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds (or whatever nut you like best)


Preheat your oven to 290 degrees.

Put the dark brown sugar and the water into a microwave safe container with high sides.  I use a 4-cup pyrex measuring cup.

Then mix it up.

Microwave this concoction for 3-4 minutes.  It will bubble up, so watch it carefully to make sure that your container has sufficiently high sides.  Before I found the right container, I had to clean the bottom of my microwave more times than I’d like to admit.

When it comes out of the microwave, it will be a rich dark syrup like this.  If there is some sugar that hasn’t quite dissolved, a quick stir should take care of that.

Next add the salt, canola oil and vanilla.

Give it a good mix.  Note:  The kosher salt won’t really mix in, but let’s pretend anyway.

Next put the oats and nuts into a big mixing bowl like this one.

Pour the syrup into the bowl of oats and nuts and make sure to get every bit out including all the salt which has a tendency to settle toward the bottom.

Doesn’t this look luscious?  What’s not to like.

Now this part is kind of important.  You are going to mix this up really thoroughly so that every oat and nut is completely covered with syrup.  As you stir it, you will start to notice that it clumps together in parts.  This is a very good sign.


When it’s done, it will look kind of like this.

Next, spread the granola in two parchment-lined baking sheets.  IMPORTANT TIP:  Use a light colored pan if you have it.  If all you have is dark, the granola may get too dark on the bottom.  Also, you definitely want to use the parchment and to make it larger than the pan (see the next photo).  It will make your life a lot easier later.  You can use the same pieces of parchment over and over, at least 10 times because you will be making this granola again.

Bake the granola for 45-55 minutes at 290 degrees.  Rotate the pans in the oven midway through cooking if you can.  You’ll know the granola is done when your kitchen smells like cookies.  Also your granola will be dry and golden brown.

Pick up the parchment paper and move the warm granola to cooling racks or directly to your kitchen counter.

And check out the pans…they are already clean.  Thank you parchment paper!!

This is about 2.5 lbs of granola.  At this point, my kids and I like to eat a few handfuls warm out of the oven.  The rest can be cooled to room temperature and stored in a sealed container for at least a week, possibly more, but we’ve never had it last that long.

My favorite way to eat this granola is with blueberries, honey and milk.  Classically delicious!  You can customize as you like.  Try with a variety of fresh and/or dried fruits.  Mix it with M&Ms and take it on a hike for energy.  Of course it’s great for breakfast…or dinner if my family is out of town.


  • Amy’s Mix:  Cashews, Sunflower Seeds & Unsulfered Baby Pineapple
  • Lita’s Mix:  Substitute Sesame Seeds for Almonds