It's way too hot to think of using the oven right now, but for future crunchy oat cravings, here's my process for homemade granola:
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- splash of vanilla
- a heavy dusting of cinnamon
I usually make a double batch of this recipe. I keep this scrap of paper taped inside a cabinet for easy reach.
After mixing everything together well, press the oats down into an oiled baking pan or dish, and return to it every 15-20 minutes for a toss. For looser oats, stir vigorously. To keep more clumps, just turn it over gently-- or not at all, even.
Though I've made this recipe three or four times now, I still get worried when the oats don't look golden brown yet after a full hour of baking. This is when I might turn the temperature up to 265º, which actually isn't necessary-- just keep baking and checking every 15-25 minutes until it's the color you want. If you're interested in adding chopped nuts, add them to the pan in the last 25-30 minutes to help them get even crunchier.
Try to resist eating all of the warm, toasty granola. Let the oats cool in the pan, add dried fruit if desired, then store in an air-tight container.
I like just keeping the granola plain so that I can add things as I like. After making granola at home, I'm ruined for the store-bought stuff, which never seems quite as crunchy or fresh tasting any more.