On camping trips, our menu varied, but my mom would always pack three camping staples in the cooler: chili con carne for our first dinner at camp (who wants to cook on the first night when there’s so much set-up to do and so much excitement to be had in the great outdoors?), a 2-pound block of Tillamook cheddar cheese with Dad’s bread, and homemade granola. Nowhere do those food taste better than on a campground. Mom mostly only made this granola when we went camping, rarely anytime else. I’ve been breaking my cream of wheat habit and eating this granola for breakfast these days, because the whole grains and dried fruits fill me up so I can last until lunchtime.
The recipe is originally from the Menonite cookbook “More with Less,” but my mom and I have both adapted it for our liking. And that’s the great thing about this recipe: its endless variations. I mix it up a little each time I make it, but the base always stays the same: oats, honey, oil. It’s easily scalable, so feel free to double or triple the recipe (if you have a convection oven and multiple large cookie sheets, you can make up to three batches of this at once!).
The only tricky thing is keeping track of the cooking time. You might think that a minute here or there doesn’t count, but trust our experience here: it counts. Keep a timer, and don’t wander too far from the oven when the granola is baking. And lastly, don’t skip a stir, it’s necessary to make sure everything is coated and bakes evenly.
Now go get creative, and let me know what you come up with! And as camping season gears up, remember to pack this easy breakfast along with your sunscreen.
Homemade Chewy Granola
Yield: 6-7 cups (depending on added ingredients)
Time: 20 minutes, including prep and baking time
Note: I’ve broken down the ingredients by round that they get added to the baking process. This will help for when you choose variations. The only ingredients you have to have are the oats, honey, and oil – and are marked with asterisks. Otherwise, feel free to mix things up! If you want a crunchier granola, use less honey (but not less than 1/2 cup)
6 cups whole rolled oats*
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup flax seeds (if seeds are already toasted, add in 2nd Round)
1/2 cup walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, or nut/seed of your choice (if nuts are already toasted, add in 2nd Round)
2/3 cup honey*
2/3 cup vegetable oil*
1/2 cup dry fruit (currants, dates, raisins, apricots, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, go wild – but not too wild, I usually only put one of these in at a time)
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper (important: even if your cookie sheet is non-stick, this stuff sticks and you’ll thank me later for telling you about the parchment paper).
Mix 1st round ingredients together and bake on lined cookie sheet for 10 minutes.
Take out, add 2nd round ingredients, stir to coat evenly. Bake again for 5 minutes.
Take out, stir ingredients, and bake again for 4 minutes.
Take out, stir ingredients, add Last Round ingredients, and bake for 3 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool. Enjoy!
Suggested nut/fruit combinations: walnut & currant (pictured), pecan & date, almond & apricot, hazelnut & cherry