Mom's Granola: Don't Call It Hippie Food

My mother was about as far from a hippie as you could get, so the fact that I am regularly reminded of her whenever I make her fabulous granola is, well, a little more than ironic.

My mother, circa 1969.

A staunch Oregon Republican—in those days defined as socially liberal and fiscally conservative—she was not in favor of the "free love" espoused by the hippie "longhairs" of the era or much of anything they did (or wore). But when my brother opened a café in Northwest Portland and needed something to offer customers for breakfast that wasn't pancakes and eggs, she jumped in and came up with this recipe.

It features the traditional mix of oats and honey baked on a sheet pan until toasty, but she pulled back on the heavy sweetness of most versions she came across in her research—it was the era of Frosted Flakes and Fruit Loops, after all—and loaded it up with the nuts and coconut she loved. I still make it regularly, and I've found the recipe is almost infinitely mutable according to my whim-of-the-moment or what's available (or not) in the pantry. Switch out the nuts, throw in some cardamom or chopped dates, it's all good.

Thanks, Mom! 

My Mom's Granola

1/2 c. butter or margarine
2 tsp. vanilla
3 oz. orange juice
2/3 c. honey
8 c. rolled oats
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/4 c. sunflower seeds
1/2 c. wheat germ (optional)
1 1/4 c. flaked coconut
1 c. walnuts, chopped or crushed
2/3 c. slivered almonds
2 c. raisins, currants or other dried fruit

Preheat oven to 325°.

Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat. When melted, remove from heat and stir in vanilla, orange juice and honey.

In large mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients except raisins. Add honey mixture and stir till moistened. Spread on cookie sheet and bake for 30 min. Remove from oven, reducing heat to 300°, and turn with spatula. Return to oven and bake for 15 min., take it out and turn again. Return to oven for another 15 minutes until toasty. Cool thoroughly, stir in raisins and store in quart zip-lock bags. (I keep them in the freezer until needed.)