With all of the wacky stuff we do, we realize that it may sound a bit like we've gone granola (my understanding of that term means kinda crazy, back to the earth, tree hugging, liberal, birkenstock wearing, long haired, hippie type) but no, really we have not. We're still just as conservative as can be... and only one of us has long hair.
So no, we are going granola, we're just eating it, a lot.
I have been making this granola recipe as a packable snack for my family for the past few months and it is really good. My exact recipe changes each time based on what I feel like, but the basic recipe is below and can be modified infinitely. Thank you to my Aunt Marilyn for the original 'flexible recipe' idea.
This makes a chewy sticky type of granola that holds together fairly well in bars. The closest commerical comparison is to the "Nature Valley Chewy Trail Mix Fruit and Nut" bar--the one in the purple wrapper.
Horton Ga-nora Bars (cause my son can't remember the word granola)
2 cup puffed rice cereal (crispies)
4 cups oatmeal (non-quick cooking kind)
1 cup chopped nutty add-ins (almonds, pecans, walnuts, hulled sunflower seeds)
1 cup dried fruit (raisins, craisins, blueberries)
1 cup honey or corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tbs vanilla
2-4 tbs butter (I have also used coconut oil, olive oil may work too)
Optional Pre-Cooking (adds great depth of flavor, but not necessary)
[In a giant frying pan, melt ~1 tbs butter over medium heat and cook the chopped nuts until lightly browned and fragrant, stirring constantly. These get too toasty really fast, so keep an eye on them. Dump them into a giant bowl, then add more butter 2-3 tbs to the same skillet and toast the oatmeal the same way. The oatmeal will take a lot longer to cook, but will burn quick too. ]
Put the oatmeal, cereal, nuts, and dried fruit into a very large bowl.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan cook the honey and brown sugar over low heat, stirring constantly. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly to keep the bubbles from overflowing. After 2 minutes, remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla. Stir well until melted.
Pour this over the oatmeal mixture and stir well. Once combined dump the mixture onto a rimmed cookie sheet and flatten to about 1/2 inch. To make cleanup easier, I like to use two Silpat pan liners when I flatten the granola—one on bottom and one on top. This keeps the sticky fingers to a minimum and gives a more even final product. Once the granola is pressed flat, set it aside to cool for a few hours.
When cool, the granola can be cut into serving sized squares and wrapped individually for easy packing. I try not to cut anything on my slipat liners, so I use one of my son's place mats as a cutting mat.
I set any of the funny shaped or broken pieces aside in a Tupperware dish for immediate munching.
This keeps my family from grabbing a wrapped bar to eat in the kitchen, and saves me from some additional tedious wrapping… besides, the hippie-legislate-to-save-the-earth-wacko deep inside me would hate to see that tiny sheet of plastic wrap go to waste!