I am totally fed up with cereal, and I don't even eat it. Well, once in a great while, but not frequently. However, Mike eats it almost every day, and that gave me reason to start looking a little more closely at the ingredients. I'm sure most of you already know that even "healthy" cereals (by whose standards??) are loaded with unnecessary sugar, salt, and other garbage.
I'm not opposed to sugar or salt, and I use them liberally in cooking where I know exactly how much is in there. But who needs them added to every processed food on the shelves? The food manufacturers, that's who. They have trained our taste buds away from the taste of actual food and made us lovers of processed crap.
Ok, down off my soapbox. I've removed nearly all the processed foods from our personal shelves, so now it's time to look at cereal. Don't worry, there's sweetener in this recipe!
Basic Chunky Granola
1/3 c maple syrup
1/3 c light brown sugar
4 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
1/2 c canola oil
5 c rolled oats (not quick cook or steel cut)
2 c almonds, chopped, raw preferred
2 c raisins or other dried fruit
Spray a rimmed baking sheet and line it with parchment. Set the rack to the upper middle position and preheat to 325. In a large bowl, whisk the syrup, sugar, vanilla, and salt together, and then whisk in the oil. Stir in the oats and almonds and work with your hands until the sugar mixture is worked through.
Scrape out the oats onto the baking sheet and compress the mixture firmly into a thin, even, and tight layer. Bake for about 40 minutes, rotating the pan once. Remove from the oven to a wire rack and cool thoroughly. Break the granola into pieces and stir in the raisins. Store in an airtight container.