It’s not that I have anything against commercial cereal.
I ate Cap’n Crunch until I was in my third decade, including a rather late and not altogether unpleasant dalliance with the “Oops! All Berries” variety. And Jenn, because she loves me, will sometimes bring me the Halloweentime release of Boo Berry. She knows it was my favorite of all the General Mills monster-themed boxes. (It’s unclear to me if I was seduced by the delicious “fruit” flavor or the Boo Berry ghost’s stylish bowler hat. Either way, nomnomnom.)
Of late, we’re more of the granola noshing sort. High in fat? You betcha. And also, dee-lish.
On a lark, I decided to try making some, and, again, I swear this wasn’t really part of our War on Plastic or hatred of packaging in general. Rather, it was a way to get rid of a bit of the 77 metric tons1 of oats that Jenn bought. They lurk in a giant orange bin in the pantry, its dimpled lid screaming, “You can never eat enough oatmeal cookies to finish me! Mwah-hah-hah!”
But if I’d known how easy making granola cereal is, I’d have done it since I learned how to dial up the stove to 325.
The recipe I’ve taken to and modded has two primary ingredients — oats and pecans. We source both of those regionally. There’s a little fat, in the way of butter, to help everything roast up all golden and purty. And there’s a healthy pour of syrup that becomes both the sweetener and the glue. (We use the fresh cane syrup we got in Loachapoaka, but I suspect maple and sorghum would taste terrific too.)
Let’s briefly outline the reasons I like making it:
- It’s quick and easy. I can whip up a batch first thing in the morning and have it ready to eat before I go to work.
- It makes the kitchen smell fantastic. Two words: Roasted. Pecans. … Oh, one more word: Butter.
- It keeps for several weeks. I think. It’s supposed to, anyway, but ours hasn’t stuck around long enough.
- It goes great with yogurt or milk.
- It’s way mo’ better for the environment. It’s prevented us from using a whole heap of cardboard cereal boxes, plastic bags in those boxes, gas to ship those boxes to the grocery from godknowswhere, and the energy of manufacturing the cereal — with preservatives we don’t particularly want to consume anyway.
I’ll save my preservative allotment2 for my October box of Boo Berry, thank you very much. (Recipe below.)
This was my base recipe, from Food.com. I tried it full-test the first time and found it a bit too rich for me. So I’ve modded it to cut the butter in half and scaled the syrup back by two tablespoons. I also make double batches, so it’s something more like this:
Homemade Granola Cereal
- 2-1/2 cups of rolled oats
- 2-1/2 cups of chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup cane syrup
- 6 Tbs. butter, melted
Mix all ingredients together. Spread on two cookie sheets (I’ve had better luck with the light ones, vs. the dark ones, which tend to overroast the pecans too quickly). Don’t be afraid to toss in a few handfuls of golden raisins, dried pears or whatever else you have on hand. Bake at 325° for 20-30 minutes. The original recipe says 30, but I can smell the pecans starting to burn usually between 20-25 minutes, and that’s when you yank the pans out. Allow the cereal to cool enough for the syrup to harden. Break it up into clumps. Pour your first bowl while it’s still warm.
2Not a thing.