Back in the day when I went to Camp Prince’s Pine every summer, one of the things I looked forward to was the food.
Not all the food, mind you. We had our dreadful meals just like most camps. But – every year, there were a few dishes that were perennial favorites. Every day of camp there were multiple choices for breakfast. We could stand in line for hot food, or grab a bowl of granola from the table and eat right away.
At least half the time, most kids would go for the granola. It was the best granola ever!
Years later, I found out that the recipe was from my best friend’s mother! This amazing revelation just makes it that much more special.
I’ve tweaked it a bit – I use coconut oil instead of canola, and oat bran instead of wheat germ to keep it gluten free. I use whatever nuts I have on hand, rather than a predetermined formula. It’s a pretty flexible recipe. I generally double it, since we go through it pretty quickly when I have it around. (This requires my largest mixing bowl, which is big enough to wash a baby in.)
Without further ado – here is my version of the ever popular Camp Prince’s Pine Granola, courtesy of Mrs. Ayers.
Measure out nuts. This was for a double recipe, hence the six cups. I’ve got peanuts, almonds and cashews in there this time; the peanuts and cashews I ran through my nut chopper. (Mine is this style, but not this brand – I picked it up at Corning outlet in North Bend years ago.)
Measure all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Larger. Biggest pot or bowl you’ve got, really.
Mix together all the syrup ingredients, minus the vanilla, in a big soup pot. The sugar needs to dissolve, and the coconut oil needs to melt, but you don’t want to bring it to a boil. We need syrup here, not candy.
I like to grind my spices fresh, especially the cardamom and the nutmeg. These have a lot more taste when they’re ground fresh than when they’ve been sitting ground in the spice drawer for awhile.
Cardamom I can do in the coffee grinder, but nutmeg has to be grated. I use a fine plane grater for this job.
Once the syrup is off the heat, add the vanilla. This keeps it from evaporating out quite so quickly. Vanilla is volatile.
Mix syrup into the dry ingredients. Here, it’s just starting to moisten things:
Bake on lipped cookie sheets at 300°. Stir every 10-15 minutes until it’s toasted all the way through. I generally stir the first time at 15 minutes, and then 12, and then 10 – it’s usually done after 3 stirs. Sometimes it takes four.
When it’s all toasted, it’s done. I make sure to toast it thoroughly; otherwise it’s so chewy that my jaws hurt when I eat it.
Once it’s cooled completely, you can add any dried fruit you want and package it up for the pantry. This is shelf stable for months, but it doesn’t last that long at my house.
All done! The double batch made about 13 quarts of granola. This isn’t canned; I just use jars for a lot of dry storage.
We’re set – at least for awhile!
Granola (with tweaks)
Look for many of these ingredients in the bulk food section
12 c. old fashioned rolled oats
1 – 2 c. raw wheat germ OR oat bran
3 c. shredded coconut
2 c. raw sunflower seeds
1 c. sesame seeds
3 c. chopped nuts
1 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
(can substitute ½ c. maple syrup for ½ c. of the sugar)
1 1/2 c. water
1 1/2 c. coconut oil
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. Grandma’s Molasses (or another 1/2 c. honey)
1 1/2 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. each cardamom & nutmeg
1 T. vanilla
dried fruit (raisins, dates, etc., opt.)
Combine oats, wheat germ, coconut, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and nuts in a large bowl.
In 3 quart saucepan, combine rest of ingredients, except dried fruit. Heat until sugar dissolves, do not boil. Stir well while heating. Pour syrup over dry ingredients, serve until well coated.
Spread into 2 11×15″ pans. Bake in 300* oven for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring at 10 minute intervals. Switch pans from upper and lower racks at each stirring. Bake 15 minutes longer for crunchier texture.
Cool, add raisins or other dried fruit. Let cool completely, then store in airtight container in a dry, cool place.