Sometimes bare cupboards inspire the tastiest things at our house.  A trip to the grocery store was in order, but apparently not in the cards, because it just wasn’t happening.  Too many cranky kids (and mom), too little time, too many dirty dishes.  You know how it goes.  So, I scrounged around in the cupboards, looking for inspiration among the raw ingredients, and homemade granola was the result!

There was some dried fruit languishing in the snack cupboard and a hefty sack of dried coconut from a co-op order.  The bulk of the granola, the grains and nuts, we always have in abundance.  And I combined a few sweeteners; molasses, maple syrup and the tail end of a jar of rice syrup.

Although I looked at a recipe to get the basic idea, I just used what we had on hand and it turned out beautifully.  So delicious, in fact, that even though I made a 1 and 1/2 batch it was gone in less than a week!

Motivated by how simple it was, I whipped up a second batch (tripling the recipe this time) the following week.  A slightly different version, based on the cupboard contents at that time, but equally delicious.

This variation had rolled oats, rolled wheat, coconut, walnuts, pecans, almonds, dried apricots, gogi berries and dates, plus the three sweeteners and some olive oil.  But really, your imagination is the limit!

The basic formula is about 1/4-1/2 cup oil, 1/2-3/4 cup sweetener (depending on your preference, you could even skip it altogether) to every 6 to 8 cups of dry ingredients.  Mix that all up and bake it at 350 for 15-25 minutes, stirring every so often.  It helps to put the liquids in your baking pan and pop them in the preheated oven for a moment to soften the syrups.  Then stir in the granola and mix it all around right in the baking dish and put it back in the oven.  Add your dried fruit at the end, after it’s done cooking, so they don’t get scorched.  I’m not sure how long it keeps, we haven’t been able to hang onto it longer than a week…

What’s your favorite combination for granola?  Please share in the comments; I might end up making some based on something other than what’s hiding in my cupboard!

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