Honey, Nut and Raisin Granola: A Litmus Test For Beekeeping

Homebrew Husband and I are dancing around the idea of maybe, someday, possibly keeping honeybees.

We are being very sensible about this. We are not rushing in. We are getting a bee education before we plunge into apiarying. I’m currently taking a fantastic Apprentice Beekeeping class through the local branch of Washington State University’s Extension program, and when I’m done, he’ll take the class too.

In the meantime, before we do anything rash, we are confirming that we like honey enough to use it a lot, and to one day get stung in pursuit of it.

Which is where this batch of Honey, Nut and Raisin Granola comes in. A full cup of honey goes into this recipe (to be fair, it does make an awful lot). If you have bees, or even if you don’t, you might make a batch for easy no-cook breakfasts and quick after-school snacks.

Honey, Nut and Raisin Granola

Ingredients:
(Note: all photos display a double batch. If you really like this recipe and eat a lot of granola, feel free to double – you’ll need two sheetpans. Or, if you aren’t sure about this recipe, go ahead and halve everything.)

  • 4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 4 cups assorted mixed nuts (I used almonds and pecans)
  • 1-2 tablespoons cinnamon, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dry ground ginger, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 cups raisin or other small dried fruits, such as dried cherries or dried cranberries
Method:
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line one half-sheetpan (or standard size cookie sheet) with parchment paper, silicone baking sheet or aluminum foil.
Combine the oats, nuts, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a large bowl. Stir well.

Combine the olive oil and honey. The easiest way to do this is in a large glass measuring cup. Pour in one cup of oil first, then add the honey until the combined liquids hit the 2 cup mark. You want to add the oil first so the honey releases from the measuring cup more easily.

If you have a microwave, it helps to warm the honey and oil for 30 seconds to a minute or so, and then stir the liquids together. If they are warm they will sort of combine and coat the oats and nuts more easily. If you can’t warm the mix, just stir it together as best you can.

Pour the liquids over the bowl of oats and nuts.

Use a spatula to gently but thoroughly stir like crazy. All the oats and nuts should be well coating in oil and honey.

Transfer the granola mixture to your lined sheetpan. Pat it down with the spatula, so the mixture is lightly pressed together.

Bake in the 275-degree oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, stir the granola gently, working the edge parts towards the center. Turn your sheetpan 180-degrees, so the front is now in back (this helps things cook more evenly). If you have doubled your batch, swap your sheetpans top-to-bottom, too. Don’t worry if everything looks pretty pale and liquidy at this point.

Return the granola to the oven. It should take another 30-40 minutes of baking, but check every 10-15 minutes just in case your oven runs a bit hot. Every time you check, stir in spots along the edges that are browning more quickly than the center.

When the granola is glossy and rich golden brown, it is done. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

The granola will still be tacky and a bit moist when taken from the oven. Allow it to cool completely and it will crisp up. When it is fully cooled, gently turn the granola into a large bowl. I like to do this gently and maintain as many big chunks of granola as possible. “Pieces” are more popular than sad lonely oats in my house.

Add in your raisins. Stir gently.

Transfer to a relatively airtight container. I think the granola’s so pretty I’m storing it in a big glass jar right on the counter.

This is an excellent framework recipe. You can modify it to suit your taste and available ingredients. I happen to think a dried pineapple, macadamia nut and coconut flake granola seasoned with ginger and maybe a hint of cardamom would be fantastic, if one could afford it.

Walnut and dried pear or almond and dried cherry would be nice. I could image a slightly exotic, Middle Eastern feel variation with pistachio and dried apricots. The possibilites are endless.

I served this granola to the family layered with last summer’s canned peaches and some homemade yogurt. My daughter called it parfait, invoked a Shrek reference and tucked in to some serious eating.

This bodes well for beekeeping.

Comments

  1. That is a very nutty granola! My husband would love it. Once I added raisins before baking – yeah, bad plan. They got all hard and no one would eat it. ;)

    • I learned that lesson from experience too. ;) Thankfully I stopped myself from trying to add chocolate chips pre-bake. On the other hand….that might make a yummy bar cookie!

  2. Parfaits ARE delicious! ;)

  3. Your recipe sure does use a lot of honey! Mine only asks for 1/2 c honey and 1/3 c oil to ever 4-6 cups of oats. Does the olive oil impart a strong flavor on the granola? I find that I can’t use olive oil for mayo because it’s too strong.

    • This gives that child-friendly clumpy coated taste and texture. I find with less “liquids” the granola stays more separate. But you could easily halve the liquids for a lighter taste. I think the key to granola is just a very low oven and long cook time. Everything else is pretty flexible.

      • So I’m trying the increased oil. This time though I’m changing it up and using 1 c of brown sugar instead of honey and I added 1 tsp salt, 1 tbs cinnamon, 1 tbs vanilla extract and a dash of black pepper.

  4. Is the apiary course online? how long, what do you think of it? I’ve been mulling this for a couple of years…silly, cuz I know already: I LOVE honey. And bees, and wax and everything about the whole process…I just feel a little intimidated by it all.

    • No it’s an in person course offered through WSU Extension and it is well worth the effort to get to it and the $70 it cost! I’m learning a huge amount….mostly how much there is to learn. :)

  5. I took a class last year and have just bought my first hive :) I guarantee that you’ll learn all kinds of wonderful things in your own class that will get you really excited about both bees and honey. For example, did you know that you’ll generally harvest on average about 50lbs of honey per hive? You’ll get even more if you live in the city where there’s plenty of back gardens and parks filled with forage sources. And if you don’t eat it all you can always sell pots of it as ‘Seattle Honey’ – it will be snapped faster than you can say bees. Have fun :)

  6. Keeping bees is a wonderful (although expensive, start up wise) hobby. I would have loved to have taken that course, you will be on your way to being an expert by the end of it! You will always have more to learn from the bees and that is the best part, they are fascinating. Honey makes great gifts and there is always someone who will want to buy your fresh, local honey. I have only been stung 3 times in almost two years…every time was my fault for being careless. They are gentle, intelligent creatures. Happy future beekeeping!

    • The beekeeper teaching the class I’m taking says bees are smarter than chickens: “I’ve never seem my chickens come into the coop and do a dance to show other chickens where food is two miles away.” :)

  7. Looks yummy!

    I make mine in a lasagna pan; less chance of it spilling during the baking/stirring phase.

  8. Looks good! I have dried cranberries, pecans and hazelnuts right now..wonder what it would be like with peanut oil or coconut oil instead of olive oil?

    • Annie – is the coconut oil solid at room temp? I’d avoid any fats that were saturated to that degree for fear of a “coated” mouth feel when they cool. I use olive oil only because I just keep one kind of bulk cooking oil on hand, and that’s it. Any other oil you prefer should work fine.

  9. Holy cow, that is a lot of nuts!

    I made a batch of granola last night, but for 5 cups of oats, only use around 1 cup of nuts. Granted, I only really put the nuts in there to satisfy my boyfriend. I would prefer an all-oat granola, myself.

  10. Good for you Erica!!! Keeping bees is so worthwhile-I too did a course late last year in readiness for keeping bees at home on the farm next spring (your fall).
    I undertook a ‘Natural Beekeeping ‘ course-I have been so so lucky to be able to study with Tim Malfroy- who is Australia’s premier advocate of Natural Beekeeping. He is single handedly making beekeeping a seriously considered topic in farming and political circles here and I have to say- making it easy to share the passion for these wonderful and necessary workers. Tim is from a long line of beekeepers (Beek royalty really) but his experience and learnings over a long period has moved away from traditional methods to adapting a way of keeping bees that looks after the bees first and foremost. He teaches a holistic approach and what an eye-opener it was too.
    We all must be aware now that bee populations are under threat across the globe and a ‘new’ way of caring for bees and harvesting honey based on respect and love for the bee colony is really urgently needed if these wonderful insects are going to be able to exist and hopefully thrive naturally once again. We can not survive without the bee. Sounds dire- and it really is.
    Anyway- don’t start me on chemical companies and poor farming practices and all the foolish ways just a few hundred years of ‘modernisation’ have stripped the earth. Bees are like the canary in the mineshaft. I encourage everyone to think about keeping a hive- it really isn’t as challenging as you may think- especially the natural way.
    You can read more about Tim’s philosophy on natural beekeeping here http://www.malfroysgold.com.au/naturalbeekeeping.html

  11. I’m a 2nd year bee keeper and I have rarely been stung by my own bees. If you stay calm while you are working with them, then they will be calm in return. If something riles them up, you will quickly learn the sound of unhappy bees. I have been stung quite a few times while removing feral colonies from unwanted places (you can’t blame them, no one wants to be ripped out of their home). My body reacts poorly to being stung (localized swelling, pain, localized fever, even bruising). After trying everything the local pharmacy could provide towards relief, I found one thing that really works: Preparation H. No joke. When your hand is so swollen for 3+ days you can’t close your fist, you’ll try anything! I’m also told that plantains (the herb, not the fruit) are an effective natural remedy. I’ve not yet been able to try this remedy as it seems plantains are the one weed that doesn’t grown in my yard!
    Stings and all, I love bee keeping and I hope you enjoy it too:)

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